mains, red meat

short ribs braised in coffee ancho chili sauce

I'm a sucker for short ribs.  If I see them on a menu, I most likely have to try them.  If I see a recipe from a reputable magazine with a good test kitchen...well, here you have it.  I picked up special edition of Gourmet called Comfort and decided to give this one a go.  It's an old one, first printed at 2003, but clearly has become a go-to for many.

I have to say, these were fairly easy to make and the meat was super melty which is always the hope for short ribs. The sauce is nicely balanced with the heat from the chilies, sweetness from the maple syrup and acid of the lime juice and coffee (which is the only thing I really changed slightly, adding a bit more).  This a great make ahead dinner, really getting better over a couple of days.

I served it with soft polenta and roasted asparagus.  I heard no complaints, only some good man grunting.

short ribs braised in coffee ancho chili sauce

slightly adapted from Gourmet Magazine and chef Robert Del Grande of Cafe Annie in Houston

4 dried ancho chilies

2 cups boiling water

1 medium onion, quartered

3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 T chopped chipotle chilies in adobo plus 2 t adobo sauce

4 T lime juice

3/4 c strong brewed coffee

3 T maple syrup

6 lb beef short ribs

1 T olive oil

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350º

Decapitate your ancho chilies and shake out the seeds.  I used kitchen sheers. Cut/split them open and remove any ribs.  Use gloves if you'd like.

Don't worry about any of the stray seeds as they will float out when you soak the peppers in water.  Cover the peppers in a bowl with boiling water and let soften for about 20 minutes.  

While the chilies are soaking, you can prep your other ingredients and the meat.  Season the short ribs well with salt and pepper and brown each one for about 5 minutes in a large skillet heated with the olive oil, reserving any resulting fat.  Arrange the ribs in a single layer in a large roasting pan.

Once the peppers are soft, drain them, reserving the pretty soaking water.  

Puree the anchos, onion, garlic, chipotles, maple syrup, lime juice and a little salt in a blender until smooth.

In the skillet you've used for the meat, add the chills puree to the remaining fat.  Cooking over medium heat, stir frequently for a few minutes.  

Add the chili soaking water and coffee, bring to a boil and pour over the ribs.  

Cover the pan with foil and braise for about 3-3 1/2 hours, until the meat is super tender.  

When you are ready to serve, remove the meat from the roasting pan.  Tilt the pan so the braising juices pool to one corner.  This will make it easier to skim off the fat.  Once you've taken away as much of the fat as you can, whisk the remaining pan juices and pour over the ribs.  If you are making it ahead, remove the accumulated fat before re-heating.