2014 - Flanken Treasure
Chili Chef: Michael Cincinatus


3 pounds Flanken style short ribs, with bone in, cut into cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 2-ounce package dried New Mexico chilies stemmed, seeded and torn into pieces
2 large dried Ancho chilies, stemmed, seeded and torn into pieces
1 dried Chipotle chili, stemmed, seeded and torn into pieces
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
2 tablespoon freshly ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 cup beef broth (preferably organic)
2 tablespoons dark agave
1 teaspoon instant espresso coffee
One19-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Arrange the short ribs on a large sheet of foil. Sprinkle all over with kosher salt and pepper.
  3. Bring the New Mexico chilies, Ancho chilies and Chipotle chili 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 chilies are tender (around 5 minutes).
  4. Purée the chili water mixture until smooth. A hand blender works well for this task.
  5. 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.

    Note: this part of the recipe is quite hazardous. As you brown the short ribs, the fat will render and sputter intensely. Take the following precautions:
    1. Wear long sleeves, shoes, and a hat. Chef’s whites might seem pretentious, but are actually quite utilitarian in this case.
    2. Use long barbeque tongs not short cooking tongs.
    3. Wear eye protection (I conducted the operation while looking through a bacon sputter screen). Seriously, you have to look into the pot to manipulate the short ribs, and you’re almost sure to get something hot in or around your eyes.
  6. Add the garlic and red onions to the drippings in the pot. Sauté, scraping up the short rib fond, until the onions soften, about 5 minutes.
  7. Mix in the cumin, oregano and chili powder. Bloom the spices for another two minutes, being careful not to burn them.
  8. Add the chili purée, the broth, agave, and espresso; stir to blend.
  9. 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.
  10. Using tongs, transfer the ribs and any loose bones to a rimmed baking sheet and let cool.
  11. Transfer the braising liquid to a fat separator. If you don’t have a fat separator, just tilt the pot and spoon off as much of the fat as you can.
  12. Carefully remove the meat from the bones, discarding the membranes, chunks of fat and bones. A sharp knife helps here. Shred the meat.
  13. Return the meat and braising liquid sans fat to the pot. Add the black beans and mix well.
  14. Add water (around 1 ½ cups) until the mixture reaches the desired consistency. Heat through and serve.

Serve with avocado and cheese, if desired.

(copyright 1990-2018, Ian Silver)