2000s Recipes + Menus

Braised Chile-Spiced Short Ribs with Black Beans

  • Active time:40 min
  • Start to finish:3 3/4 hr
February 2009
Braised dishes are often served with a creamy side like mashed potatoes, polenta, or grits. Black beans offer an earthy change of pace and complement the chile purée. View more of our favorite recipes from this issue.

For beans

  • 1 lb dried black beans (about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf

For short ribs

  • 1 1/4 oz dried ancho chiles (3 to 4 medium)
  • 2 cups boiling-hot water
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped canned chipotles in adobo plus 1 Tbsp adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons molasses (not robust or blackstrap)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 1/3 cups cold water, divided
  • 5 lb beef short ribs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 lb sliced bacon, chopped
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • Accompaniments:

    chopped white or red onion; chopped cilantro

Quick-soak beans:

  • Put beans in a 4- to 5-qt heavy pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches.
  • Bring to a boil and boil 2 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, 1 hour.

Make chile purée:

  • Wipe anchos clean, then stem and seed. Discard ribs and tear anchos into pieces.
  • Soak anchos in boiling-hot water until softened, about 20 minutes. Transfer anchos to a blender, reserving soaking liquid.
  • Purée anchos with onion, garlic, chipotles with sauce, tomato paste, molasses, cumin, cloves, 1/3 cup water, and 1 tsp salt

Braise short ribs:

  • Pat ribs dry and season with 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper (total). Heat oil in a wide 6- to 8-qt heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown ribs in batches, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer as browned to a platter. Discard fat from pot.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
  • Cook bacon in pot over medium heat until browned, then transfer with a slotted spoon to platter.
  • Stir chile purée into fat in pot (it may spatter). Cook, stirring frequently, 6 minutes. Stir in reserved chile-soaking liquid, remaining 2 cups water, and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Return ribs and bacon to pot and braise, covered, in oven until ribs are very tender, 3 to 3 1/4 hours. Skim fat from sauce.

Cook beans while ribs braise:

  • Drain beans, then return to pot and add fresh water (8 cups), bay leaf, and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until beans are just tender, 1 1/4 to 2 hours (depending on age of beans). Drain just before serving.
  • Serve short ribs with beans.
Cooks’ notes:
  • Short ribs can be made 3 days ahead and chilled (covered once cool).
  • Beans can be cooked 3 days ahead and chilled (do not drain). Reheat before draining.
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