Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Autumn Meals - Coffee-Ancho Short Ribs

With today really feeling like fall, temperature barely creeping into the 60s and rain showers with some wind, it was time to drag out this recipe that I kind of stole from Gourmet Magazine.  Which is fine, since they stole the idea from Robert del Grande of Houston's Cafe Annie.  He rubs steaks with coffee and ancho.

This is best done a day ahead of time as you'll see below.  It's excellent served on creamy polenta with cheddar cheese and roasted Brussels sprouts, but you could substitute whatever you like.  I might consider a cheddar cheese potato gratin and green beans or broccoli - or instead of a cooked vegetable, a simple green salad with balsamic vinaigrette.  For wine, something from the Southern Rhone would match well, as would your favorite domestic wine made from grenache, syrah or mourvedre - or all three.

Season four pounds of short ribs and brown on all sides in a Dutch oven.  Set them aside.

Saute one half a large onion, a carrot a rib of celery, all roughly chopped and 3 cloves of garlic, crushed lightly with the side of a knife.

In the meantime, soak four dried ancho chiles in boiling or near-boiling water until they soften, then remove the stems and seeds, saving the water.  Don't get too worked up if there are a few seeds left behind.  We're going to strain the sauce later.

Add the short ribs back to the pan along with the anchos, two chipotles en adobo, a couple teaspoons of the adobo sauce, the juice of a half lime, 1/2 cup of brewed coffee, about 3 tablespoons (or more if you like) of real maple syrup and enough of the water to cover the ribs a little more than halfway.

Cover the dutch oven as tightly as possible with aluminum foil, add the lid and put into a 350-degree oven for approximately 3 1/2 hours, or until the short ribs are very tender.  Mine are in the oven right now, so I'll post the rest of the pictures later.


  1. this looks good dude! thinking Syrah when it gets colder down here.

  2. Hi Bob!
    Do you think the recipe will translate well using pork?
    Sam Goth

  3. Sam, I don't see why it wouldn't - though my first choice would be chile verde.

  4. Second the verde, but I'm hankering for a sauce in a lower register. Beef is semi-banned in the house (I'll eat it)-hence the q. I'll give it a try this weekend w/pork and beef side-by-side and report back. I think browning& slow rendering the pork well will help marry it to the braise sauce.

  5. Give it a shot, Sam, but be sure to let us know how it turns out. Just remember that the pork will cook faster.

  6. Ok, just put 2 sealed casseroles in the oven-will let you know how they turn out after trick or treating.

  7. Just got done with dinner and tried beef and pork versions side by side.

    The run-down:
    Bought babyback ribs, cut into 2-3 bone-in sections and roasted 1h at 500˚F. I used dried "California" (Anaheim) chiles which are very mild (the family is not keen on hot stuff-for now, working on it!). After baking 3h, sauce was made by blending the defatted juice and vegetables til smooth, I added some salt and water to loosen the texture.

    Verdict: Damn tasty! And the kids ate their share, further proof (if needed) that this is a great recipe.