Ras el Hanout Spice Braised Beef Short Rib

The secret to this delicious short rib dish is in the spice. Loosely translated, Ras el Hanout means “top shelf.” This exotic blend is used heavily in Moroccan cuisine.

Photograph by National Geographic / Lisa Corson
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Ras el Hanout spice braised beef short ribs over a chickpea stew with green harissa.
Photograph by National Geographic / Lisa Corson

Ras el Hanout Spice Braised Beef Short Rib

The secret to this delicious short rib dish is in the spice. Loosely translated, Ras el Hanout means “top shelf.” This exotic blend is used heavily in Moroccan cuisine.



Ingredients

6 2-inch pieces of beef short rib (about 1lb total)
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tbsp white pepper
2 tbsp ras el hanout
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp ground cumin seed toasted and crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 tsp coriander seed toasted and crushed in a mortar and pestle
2 onions sliced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 cup chickpeas (if using dried chickpeas soak them ahead of time in cold water for at least 2 hours. Canned chickpeas work in a pinch but make sure to add them towards the end so they don’t overcook and turn mushy.)
1 cup green olives pitted and sliced in half
1 tsp preserved lemon skin, cut into fine dice
salt to taste
2 cups beef stock
1 cup water
1/4 cup chopped parsley
hearty bread for dipping

For green harissa:

3 green chiles, chopped finely
1 bunch cilantro, chopped finely
zest of 2 Meyer lemons
1 pinch dried red chili flakes
1/2 cup olive oil salt to taste

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Directions

1. Heat a large Dutch oven until very hot, add grapeseed oil.

2. Season the beef short ribs with salt and pepper liberally and sear on all sides until golden brown.

3. Reduce the heat slightly, add sliced onions and begin to caramelize them.

4. Add the garlic and all of the spices and start to toast until the spices have begun very fragrant.

5. Add water and beef stock to cover the short ribs 2/3’s of the way.

6. If using dried chickpeas add them now.

7. Cover short ribs and braise on low heat until they are fork tender and chickpeas have softened.

8. Add preserved lemons and green olives (and canned chickpeas, if you using them) and cook for a few more minutes until olives have softened.

9. Finish with chopped parsley

10. Combine all green harissa ingredients and let stand for 30 minutes to allow flavors to bloom.

To serve:

1. Place one short rib in a bowl and ladle over chickpea stew.

2. Garnish with a spoonful of green harissa and serve with toasted bread.