Short Rib and Butternut Squash Chili

Bowl of ChiliServes 8

Yikes this is a long list of ingredients! But don’t let it have a negative impact on your decision to try this recipe. Good prep work is the key.

1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
5 lbs short ribs bone-in, or 3 lbs boneless (Bones add a ton of flavor and extra nutrition)
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons sambal oelek (or other fresh chili paste)
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 – 12-ounce bottles oatmeal stout beer, 18 oz for the chili and the rest for the cook!
1/2 cup espresso (or strong coffee)
1 Tablespoon unsweetened powdered chocolate or Mexican chocolate*
1 Tablespoon masa harina (or corn meal) mixed into 1/2 cup hot water (this keeps it from clumping)
1 – 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 – 15.5-ounce can black beans
3 cups more or less cubed, peeled butternut squash.
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
Freshly ground black pepper

Tortillas for serving

Suggested garnishes: pickled jalapenos, sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, toasted pepitas, lime wedges

Here’s the prep work to make this chili come together quickly:

  1. Combine the chili powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, dried oregano, dried thyme, and smoked paprika in a small bowl, set aside.
  2. Combine sambal oelek, tomato paste, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl, set aside.
  3. Prep your espresso, set aside.
  4. Mix the masa harina and with the water, set aside.
  5. Open the can of tomatoes, set aside.
  6. Chop the onions and mince the garlic, set aside
  7. Reward yourself with a sip of that beer!

Season the ribs with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or large ovenproof braising pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches as needed, brown the ribs.

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Add the onions to the oil, stirring to coat and scraping the pan to release any browned bits from the searing. Cook for about 4 minutes, until lightly browned, then add the garlic; cook for about 30 seconds (watch this closely as garlic burns quickly).

Stir in the sambal oelek, tomato paste, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and the chili powder-spice mixture. Cook for about 1 minute.

Stir in 1 1/2 bottles of the stout; take another sip for yourself. Add the coffee, chocolate, masa harina, and tomatoes.

Add the seared ribs back to the pot and cook, stirring a few times, until the mixture reaches a brisk simmer.

Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Cook at 325 for about 3 hours or until the meat is tender and falling apart.

Remove the ribs from the pot and when cool enough to handle remove meat from bones (if using bone-in ribs). The meat should be fall-apart tender. Using two forks, coarsely shred the meat. Skim fat from the chili base and return the meat to the pot.

Stir butternut squash, black beans, and brown sugar into the chili. Continue cooking until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven.

Spoon chili into bowls, serve with warm tortillas and garnish with desired with pickled jalapenos, sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, toasted pepitas, lime wedges.

*Mexican chocolate contains cinnamon, sugar and vanilla which works great with the flavor profile of this chili.

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