Spiced couscous provides a fluffy bed for tender braised short ribs, while the sweet and spicy raisin salad adds brightness to this flavorful dish. This succulent dish is definitely a showstopper. Short ribs have the perfect amount of intermuscular fat, so it's very hard for them to dry out!
Technique tip: Fluff the cous cous with a fork to avoid clumping. This will also make it lighter and fluffier.
Swap option: Switch out short ribs for beef brisket or pork shoulder.
For the raisin salad:
Soak the raisins in hot water until they are plump. Drain and toss with remaining ingredients. Set aside.
For the couscous:
In a cold saucepan, combine the butter, onion, garlic, spices and salt. Set it over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, just until the scents start melding together but before any color develops, 5 minutes or so.
Add the water to the pan and increase the heat to high. Once the water boils, stir in the couscous and immediately remove it from the heat. Cover the top of the pan with a clean dishtowel, held in place with the pan's lid, and let it sit for 5 minutes (this traps all the steam that the couscous gives off, which would otherwise weigh it down). Fluff the couscous with a fork before you serve it.
For the short ribs:1.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Season the short ribs evenly with the salt.2.
Heat 1/4 cup canola oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven. When the oil is hot, add the short ribs and brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Reserve the rendered fat.3.
Wipe the saucepan clean and return to medium-high heat. Add the rendered fat and let it heat up until it's hot but not yet smoking. Add the fennel, onions, garlic, lemon zest and spices and cook until fragrant and the onions and fennel have cooked through but not browned, about 8-10 minutes. Place the cooked vegetables into the baking dish with the short ribs along with the water or broth.4.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place it in the oven. Bake until the short ribs are tender, 2½ to 3 hours.5.
Serve over spiced couscous and top with the raisin salad.