New Orleans chef Alon Shaya pairs braised short ribs with mujadara and adds black-eyed peas for a Southern touch. With its warm Middle Eastern spices, it's the perfect dish for Rosh Hashanah—or any fall or winter dinner party.
Be sure to buy high-quality, marbled short ribs, because that fat is key for a flavorful mujadara: The rendered fat becomes liquid gold, cooking the meat, vegetables and grains and yielding rich umami depth.
To learn more, read "Luck of the Drawl."
Short Rib Mujadara
Recipe adapted from Alon Shaya, Shaya, New Orleans, LA
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours to 3 hours and 45 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours
For the Short Ribs:
5 pounds boneless short ribs, trimmed
1¾ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
4½ cups water, divided
1 large yellow onion, cut into large wedges
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
½ head fennel, cut into large wedges
5 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon fennel seed
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon orange zest (½ orange)
For the Caramelized Onions:
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons rendered short rib fat
5 cups thinly sliced yellow onion (2 large yellow onions)
Kosher salt, to taste
For the Mujadara:
1 cup green lentils, rinsed
4¾ cups water, divided
⅓ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
1 tablespoon orange zest (½ orange)
1 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
Pinch ground cardamom
Pinch ground allspice
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 cup long-grain white rice, washed and rinsed
1½ cups cooked black-eyed peas, rinsed (one 15½-ounce can)
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions
¼ cup roughly chopped parsley
¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
1. Make the short ribs: Preheat the oven to 350°. Season the short ribs evenly with 1¾ teaspoons of salt. Working in 2 batches, heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. When the oil is hot, add half of the short ribs and brown on all sides, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the short ribs to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Pour the rendered short rib fat into a small bowl and set aside. Deglaze the saucepan with ¼ cup of water and pour over the short ribs. Repeat with the remaining canola oil and short ribs.
2. Wipe the saucepan clean and return to medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat. Add the onion, carrot, fennel and garlic cloves, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the spices and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Pour the vegetables into the baking dish with the ribs, add the orange zest and pour the remaining water over. Cover and cook in the preheated oven until the short ribs are tender, 2½ to 3 hours.
3. While the short ribs are cooking, make the caramelized onions: In a large, wide Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, add the canola oil and rendered short rib fat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until golden brown and caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and transfer half of the caramelized onions to a paper towel-lined plate. Season with salt.
4. Make the mujadara: To the remaining caramelized onions, add the lentils, 3 cups of the water, orange juice and zest, star anise, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, ground cardamom and allspice. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt, then raise the heat and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender and most of the water has absorbed, 35 to 40 minutes.
5. When the lentils are ready, add the rice, black-eyed peas and remaining 1½ cups of water. Cover and simmer until the rice is done, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes, before removing the lid and fluffing with a fork. Add the reserved caramelized onions, then taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Makes about 7 cups mujadara.
6. To serve: Transfer the mujadara to a large serving platter. Slice the short ribs and place them on top of the mujadara, along with some of the braising liquid. Garnish with the scallions, parsley and cilantro.