When I knew we were going to do absolutely nothing on Sunday, I had to make a dinner that involved the same amount of effort. Something that would be done in the time it takes to watch two movies. Enter Giada De Laurentiis' Short Rib Chili. I had originally googled short rib chili to try and emulate the dish from our favorite pub, but everytime I remembered it, it was too late to start. Sunday was the perfect day to give it a try and it was awesome.
Short Rib Chili
3 pounds meaty short ribs, with bone
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 2-ounce package dried New Mexico chiles (about 8), stemmed, seeded and cut or torn into pieces
2 large dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and cut or torn into pieces*
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon freshly ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
1 cup beef broth (preferably organic)
2 tablespoons dark agave
1 teaspoon instant espresso coffee
One 15 to 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
Adobo sauce, from can of chipotle chiles, optional
Chopped green onions
Coarsely grated bittersweet chocolate, such as Lindt
Garnishes, such as lime wedges, sour cream, aged cheddar, jalepenos
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Sprinkle short ribs with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
Bring the 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.
*I couldn't find ancho chilis, so I used an equal amount negro pasillas.
**I actually wasn't wild about the polenta. It was a bit bland. When we ate the leftovers I stirred in some aged cheddar to kick it up a notch. Next time I'd probably make corn bread or serve the chili with tortillas.