North African-Style Braised Beef

These North African-style braised Beef Short Ribs simmer in a red wine, tomato and soy broth, accented with dried figs, cinnamon and star anise. This recipe may seem complex, but essentially it is just a simple stew with a unique fragrant and flavourful braise that is impressive to serve. Serve with couscous as a traditional side dish or substitute with quinoa or rice. This recipe also works well with 6 thick-cut bone-in short ribs that are about 4 inches (10 cm) long.
Yield 6 Servings Prep. Time 30 min Cooking Time 155 min Total Time 185 min


Here are the following ingredients:

  • 12 Boneless Short Ribs, about 2 inches (5 cm) thick (about 3 lb/1.5 kg)
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) EACH salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 EACH onion, carrot and stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) minced gingerroot
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, EACH about 2 inches (5 cm) long
  • 2 star anise
  • ¾ cup (175 mL) dry red wine
  • 12 dried figs, stemmed and quartered
  • 1 can (796 mL) diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup (250 mL) reduced-sodium chicken or beef broth (approx)
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) soy sauce
  • Herbed Couscous
  • 2 cups (500 mL) couscous (uncooked)
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) EACH olive oil and fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) EACH salt and fresh ground pepper
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) EACH finely chopped fresh parsley and mint
  • Lemon wedges

Shopping List

Here are the following shopping items to buy:


Follow these cooking methods/directions:

  1. Pat short ribs dry with paper towel. Season all over with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or enamelled cast-iron roaster; brown short ribs, in batches and adding more oil as needed, until browned on all sides. Transfer ribs to a plate.

  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, gingerroot, cinnamon sticks and star anise to pan; cook, stirring often, for 4 to 6 minutes or until vegetables are starting to soften and spices are fragrant. Add red wine and figs; bring to a boil scraping up any browned bits from pan. Boil for about 2 to 3 minutes or until reduced slightly. Stir in tomatoes, broth and soy sauce; return to a boil. Return ribs and any accumulated juices to pan.

  3. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, adding water or additional broth if needed to keep beef covered while braising, for about 2 to 2½ hours, or until beef is fork-tender.

  4. Herbed Couscous: Meanwhile, cook couscous according to package directions. Fluff couscous with a fork and toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, parsley and mint.

  5. Remove beef from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Skim any fat from sauce and discard. Remove cinnamon sticks and star anise; discard.

  6. Divide Herbed Couscous evenly among shallow serving bowls. Top each serving with two short ribs and the sauce. Serve with lemon wedges.