The complexity of flavors in this Short Rib Beef Chili makes it the ultimate comfort food. Dried Ancho and California chile peppers are the keys to its depth and intensity. Chocolate and Coffee, the secret ingredients, add to its richness. Top it off with tender chunks of meat that just about melt in your mouth.
Nothing screams “warm and cozy” like a Pot of Chili as its spicy aroma fills the whole house. This Chunky Short Rib Beef Chili is both savory and satisfying with a dark and robust sauce that cradles the meat and beans. Please don’t let the lengthy list of ingredients or directions deter you from making this pan of satisfaction. It takes a little more effort than normal chili but it is so worth it in the end. And the only thing you probably don’t have on hand is the dried Ancho and Californa Chilies.
Why I Love this Short Rib Beef Chili:
The rich, dark, and spicy base gives this chili an amplified dimension. You will immediately notice a difference in the look of this chili. A “mole” type paste from dried chilies, chocolate, coffee, and spices is what influences this sauce. The flavor infused by the variety of ingredients will spoil you for any other chili in the future.
Large chunks of tender meat are crammed to overflowing. A long slow simmer produces fall-off-the-bone rib meat that just about melts in your mouth. I use more meat in my chili (5-6 lbs) than most because I want it loaded with large chunks of meat that won’t get lost in the sauce.
This One-Pot-Meal makes preparation easy and clean-up simple. I used the same Dutch Oven throughout the entire process of making this chili. From toasting the dried chilies to simmering the short ribs to the final step of adding the beans. These were all accomplished in one pot. Therefore any steps necessary are offset by not having to clean a dozen pans.
This Beef Short Rib Chili will feed a crowd. My 6-quart Dutch Oven was just about to overflow with Chili when I made it. Depending on how hungry people are or if there are any side dishes, like cornbread, corn on the cob, or a salad this pot should feed 12 people with 2-cup servings or 15 people with 1 1/2 cup servings.
Whole Dried Chilies are found in the Produce Department
Three peppers are used in this recipe – dried ancho chilies, dried California Chilies, and fresh jalapeños (there are a few canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce as well). The dried chilis take the place of chili powder which is the one common ingredient found in most chili recipes. My suggestion, ditch the powder and go for the real deal. They add robust flavor which you cannot get from the spice jars off the shelf. You can find these in the produce department along with other packaged dried whole chilies.
The ancho chili is a dried version of the poblano chili and is mild, smoky, and slightly sweet. It is not as smoky as the chipotle pepper and not near as spicy. The California Chilies are one of the mildest of the red chilies. If you want a little bit more heat use the dried New Mexico Chili. They’re the same chili but just grown in two different locations. And of course, Jalapeños are what really bring the heat. But they are added later on in the recipe.
Purchase Short Ribs that are Meaty and Have Lots of Marbling
Beef Short Ribs have beautiful marbling and a deep beefy flavor which is what intensifies the richness of this chili. Make sure you pick short ribs that are meaty chunks. Short ribs tend to be a tougher cut of meat. But the reason they work so well in this recipe is that you simmer them in a rich chili sauce for a good amount of time – 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
Toast the dried Ancho and California Chilies
Using kitchen scissors, remove the stems from 3 ancho chilies and 8-10 California chiles, shake out the seeds, and cut them into small pieces. If you prefer a spicier chili you will want to add some of the seeds along with the chilies. Toast the pieces over medium-high heat in a dutch oven until they are dark in color and have a strong roasted aroma. Watch closely so they do not smoke. Remove them from the dutch oven and set aside.
Generously Salt and Pepper the Short Ribs
Don’t be shy about sufficiently seasoning your short ribs with salt and pepper. Even though they will be simmering in lots of different flavors, the depth of taste in the meat should also come from the salt and pepper infusing the meat as well.
There is a controversy between chefs as to whether you salt before or after you cook. If you do a search you will find varying opinions. I have always seasoned before and have got good results. So I will continue to season before I sear which seems, in my opinion, helps alleviate blandness in the short ribs themselves.
Sear the Short Ribs
Increase the heat to high and add 2 tablespoons of avocado oil (or grapeseed oil). Cook the ribs in batches with only a few in the pan at a time. You want to have space between each rib. Sear each side of the short ribs until nice and brown. Each batch should take 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from the Dutch Oven and set aside. When all are done, transfer the remaining fat and meat juice from the pan to a bowl and save for later use.
Soften the Dried Chilies
Reduce the heat to medium-high and add 1 cup of chicken stock. Scrape the bottom of the pan in order to remove all bits of meat. Bring to a soft boil and reduce the heat to low and add the pieces of toasted chilies. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half.
Chilies, Spices, Tomato Paste, Coffee and Chocolate Add a Rich Complexity
Combine simmered chilies, cumin, smoked paprika, coriander, chipotle peppers in adobo, finely ground coffee, and bittersweet chocolate in a food processor. The combination of these ingredients is what gives complexity to this chili.
Semi-sweet chocolate squares are added for the same reason they are added to a mole sauce. It adds body, color, and flavor. Coffee is another interesting ingredient that melds well with tomatoes, onions, and spices in a pot of chili. Chipotle peppers along with a tablespoon of its sauce bring a smokiness with some added heat to the recipe.
Speaking of smokiness, one of my favorite spices is smoked paprika. The difference in flavor between regular paprika and smoked is vastly different. Smoked paprika uses chilies that are smoke-dried and then crushed into powder. It adds a more powerful flavor to a dish.
Process the Above Ingredients until Smooth
In a food processor or a blender, process all the above ingredients until smooth, scraping the sides frequently. This takes a little bit of time to achieve the silky texture. But don’t be concerned if you still see some tiny pieces of dried chilies. These will break down further during the simmering process.
Sauté Red Onions, Sweet Onions, and Jalapeños
Chop a large red onion, a sweet onion, and slice 3 or 4 fresh jalapeños (depending on how much heat you prefer.) I use the ribs and the seeds of the jalapeños because we love the added heat. Add the reserved fat back into the Dutch Oven and pour enough avocado oil until there are approximately 2 tablespoons of oil. Sauté the onions and jalapeños until soft – 8-10 minutes.
Add Mexican oregano and chopped garlic and cook for one minute.
Cook Until the Meat Falls of the Bone
Add chicken broth back into the Dutch Oven, along with a can of crushed tomatoes, chili puree, the seared short ribs, and any juices that have accumulated from the sitting meat. Stir and bring to a soft boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the rib meat is tender and literally falls off the bones. This took about 3 1/2 hours when I made it.
Spoon Off Any Grease that Collects on Top of this Short Rib Beef Chili
Don’t be alarmed by all the grease that is sitting on top once the chili is done. You can eliminate this by tilting the pan and spooning it off. I used a large serving spoon and continued until I was able to remove most of it.
Pull the meat off the Beef Short Ribs
Next, remove the beef short ribs from the pot and pull the meat off the bones (it should just fall off). Discard the bones and pull or cut the meat into chunks.
Adding Red Kidney Beans and Black Beans
To add beans or not – this is the common question among chili lovers. If you’re from Texas, so I hear, the answer is an emphatic “no” to beans. My preference has always been “yes” to beans. I love the added texture it creates for the Chili. But there needs to be a good ratio between the beans and the meat. You don’t want the beans to overshadow the chunky meat.
My favorite is red kidney beans because they are solid, tough, and will not turn mushy. I love the earthy flavor that black beans add. It complements the smoky flavor of this chili. One reason you add beans at the end of the cooking process is that you don’t want them to turn mushy. If you’re gonna have beans, they need to be hearty.
I gotta tell ya … I’ve been making homemade chili for years and thought I’d always made a killer one at that. As long as I can remember though, I have used chili powder from the spice section in the grocery store. But this time I decided to be adventurous trying a Short Rib Beef Chili. And, let me tell you, I will probably never go back to my old ways.
Homemade Sweet Cornbread is definitely the perfect sidekick to this dish and honey butter is what brings everything together. There is something wonderful in how the variations of flavor complement each other – sweet, spicy, and savory. I think you will find this dish along with a pan of sweet cornbread irresistible.
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Tender & Chunky Beef Short Rib Chili
The complexity of flavors in this Beef Short Rib Chili make it the ultimate comfort food. Dried Ancho and California chile peppers are the keys to its depth and intensity. Chocolate and Coffee, the secret ingredients, add to its richness. Top it off with tender chunks of meat that just about melt in your mouth.
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 3 1/2 hours
- Total Time: 3 hours and 50 mins
- Yield: 15 1x
- Category: One Pot Meal
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: Comfort Food
- 8–10 Whole Dried California or New Mexico Chiles, seeded and torn into pieces
- 4 Whole Dried Ancho Chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into pieces
- 4 tablespoons Avocado or Grapeseed Oil
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
- 5–6 lbs Beef Short Ribs, silverskin removed and trimmed
- 4 cups Chicken Stock, divided
- 6 oz Tomato Paste
- 2 Adobo Chipotle Peppers with 1 tablespoon of sauce
- 2 tablespoons Ground Cumin
- 2 tablespoons Ground Coriander
- 2 tablespoons Smoked Paprika
- 1 tablespoon finely ground Coffee Beans
- 1 1/2 oz coarsely chopped Bittersweet Chocolate
- 1 large Red Onion, chopped
- 1 large Sweet Onion, chopped
- 3 fresh Jalapeño Peppers, sliced
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 6 large Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried Mexican Oregano
- 1 (28 oz) can of Crushed Tomatoes
- 2 cans Dark Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar (optional)
- Place dried chiles in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until they have darkened in color with a strong, roasted aroma, around 4-5 minutes.
- Watch closely so they do not smoke. Remove the chilies from the dutch oven and set aside.
- Season generously the beef short ribs with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high and add the avocado oil to the Dutch Oven. Cook the short ribs in batches, browning them on all sides.
- Remove from pan and set aside, continuing until all the short ribs are browned, 5-6 minutes per batch. Make sure not to add too many to the pan at one time. You want to have space between the pieces of meat while they are browning.
- Once all are done, transfer the remaining meat fat from the pan to a bowl and set aside for later use.
- Return the heat to medium-high and add one cup of chicken stock. Scrape the bottom of the pot to remove all bits of meat.
- Reduce heat to low and add the toasted pieces of chilies to the stock. Simmer until chilies have softened and the liquid is reduced by 1/2, anywhere from 5-10 minutes.
- Transfer the simmered chiles, chipotle chiles and adobo sauce, spices, tomato paste, coffee, and chocolate to a blender or a food processor. Blend until the mixture is smooth, scraping the sides frequently. You may need to add extra reserved broth if the mixture is too dry in the food processor.
- Add the reserved meat fat left over from frying the short ribs back into the Dutch oven. Add more avocado oil if needed for 2 tablespoons in the pan.
- Return the heat to medium-high, add the onions and jalepeños. Add salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are soft, stirring frequently for about 8 minutes. Add garlic and oregano. Stir for about 1 minute.
- Add the remainder of the chicken broth along with the chili puree, crushed tomatoes, and juices from the meat. Add the beef short ribs to the pot and bring it to a gentle boil.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 to 3 1/2 hours until the meat falls off the bone. Tilt the pot and spoon off any grease. Pull out the short ribs with tongs. Remove and discard the bones. Return the meat to the pot.
- Add the kidney and black beans. Stir in brown sugar (optional).
- Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and sliced green onions. Serve with warm, sweet cornbread topped with honey butter.
- Using kitchen scissors, remove the stems from 3 ancho chilies and 8-10 California chilies, shake out the seeds, and cut them into small pieces. If you prefer a spicier chili you will want to add some of the seeds along with the chilies.
- You want to have space between each rib when you are searing them. You will need to cook them in batches and sear each side of the short ribs until nice and brown. Each batch should take 1-2 minutes per side.
- After toasting the dried chilies, simmer them in the chicken stock for about 15 minutes in order to soften them.
- In a food processor or a blender, process chilies in the broth, cumin, smoked paprika, coriander chipotle peppers in adobo, finely ground coffee and bittersweet chocolate until smooth, scraping the sides frequently. This takes a little bit of time to achieve the silky texture.
- After placing the seared short ribs into the chili mixture, let it simmer for a good 3 to 3 1/2 hours until the meat falls off the bone.
- Don’t be alarmed by all the grease that is sitting on top once the chili is done. You can eliminate this by tilting the pan and spooning if off.
- Serving Size: 2 cups chili
- Calories: 507
- Sugar: 8 g
- Sodium: 657 mg
- Fat: 19 g
- Saturated Fat: 6 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 9 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 33 g
- Fiber: 8 g
- Protein: 51 g
- Cholesterol: 2 mg
Keywords: beef chili, beef short rib chili, one pot meals, comfort food