Israeli Couscous with Root Beer-Braised Short Ribs

Help root beer realize its greatest potential as a braising bath for beef short ribs. Slightly sweet and richly savory, it melts into a brilliant sauce when layered with the familiar flavors of onion and bay leaves. Pearly couscous and a crunchy carrot salad make this recipe a complete meal. And salty smashed peanuts transform the design into a full-fledged food experience. 

Save time by prepping this in stages. Braise the short ribs the day before you need them and toss the rest together just before serving. 

Yield: 6 , Prep time: 1 hour , Cook time: 7 hours



1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a small roasting pan, combine the short ribs, root beer, bay leaves, and sliced onion. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 6 hours to braise.
2. After 6 hours, remove the short ribs from the oven and let cool to room temperature; place in the refrigerator until the fat solidifies.
3. In the meantime, whisk together the cilantro, rice vinegar, vegetable oil, ginger, honey, and sesame oil in a small bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Using a cheese grater, mandolin, or spiralizer, cut the carrots into thin shreds; toss in the vinaigrette and let marinate.
4. Fill a pot 2/3rds full with water and bring to a boil. Pour the dry couscous into the boiling water and cook for 9 minutes, or until it has reached your desired level of doneness; drain and return to the pot.
5. Now take a small spoonful of solidified fat from the short ribs and melt it into the couscous to keep it from sticking together; set aside. Next, strain the cooking liquid from the short ribs and reduce by half in a saucepan. 
6. While the cooking liquid is reducing, remove the meat from the bone, discard any fat and toss the meat into the couscous. Stir the reduced sauce into the couscous next and season all of it to taste with salt and pepper. Warm all of it together over a low flame. 
7. To serve, scoop the couscous onto plates and finish each portion with a handful of carrot salad and a sprinkling of chopped peanuts. 

Tips + Tricks

**Israeli couscous are the large pearls of couscous. If you can't find them at the grocery store you can substitute acini de pepe or orzo from the pasta section.