Short Rib Chili

Espresso coffee and bittersweet chocolate are surprises here but they contribute the nuanced flavors of a Mexican mole. Warm corn tortillas are wonderful to serve alongside. And leftovers make great soft tacos.



4 to 6 servings
Short Rib Chili
3 pounds meaty short ribs, with bonebeef short ribs3
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepperkosher salt and freshly ground black pepper1
One 2-ounce package dried New Mexico chiles (about 8), stemmed, seeded and cut or torn into piecesNew Mexico chiles1
2 large dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and cut or torn into piecesdried ancho chiles2
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oilextra-virgin olive oil¼
6 large cloves garlic, choppedgarlic clove6
1 large red onion, choppedred onion1
1 tablespoon freshly ground cuminground cumin1
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oreganodried Mexican oregano1
1 cup beef broth (preferably organic)beef broth1
2 tablespoons dark agaveagave nectar2
1 teaspoon instant espresso coffeeinstant espresso powder1
One 15 to 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drainedblack beans1
Adobo sauce, from can of chipotle chiles, optionalchipotle chiles1
Chopped green onionsscallion(s)1
Coarsely grated bittersweet chocolate, such as Lindtbittersweet chocolate1


Short Rib Chili
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Arrange the short ribs on a large sheet of foil. Sprinkle all over with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

Bring the New Mexico chiles, ancho chiles and 1 1/2 cups water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the chiles are just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender. Holding the top on firmly, blend until the chile puree is smooth.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the short ribs in batches and brown on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes per batch, transferring the short ribs to a bowl each time.

Add the garlic and red onions to the drippings in the pot. Saute until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Mix in the cumin and oregano. Add the chile puree from the blender, the broth, agave, and espresso; stir to blend. Return the short ribs and any juices from the bowl to the pot; stir to coat. Bring to a simmer. Cover and place the pot in the oven. Braise until the ribs are very tender, about 2 hours 30 minutes.

Tilt the pot. Spoon off and discard any fat that rises to the surface and pools at the lower end. Using tongs, transfer the ribs and any loose bones to a rimmed baking sheet. Carefully cut the membrane off each piece of meat (try to cut away only the membrane and not any meat). Discard the membranes and all bones. Cut the meat into small (scant 1/2-inch) cubes. Return the meat to the sauce in the pot. Mix in the black beans. Season the chili with about 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. If desired, add the adobo sauce by teaspoonfuls to increase the spiciness. Transfer the chili to a large bowl. Sprinkle with the green onions.

Spoon the Creamy Corn Polenta into deep bowls. Ladle chili over. Sprinkle generously with chocolate. Serve with the garnishes.

cook's notes

Serve with assorted garnishes, such as lime wedges, sour cream, chopped cooked bacon, chopped red and/or green jalapenos.
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