Spiced Up Short Ribs: in Coffee + Chiles Braise


This is a recipe I adapted from Chef Robert Del Grande. It was served at the old Cafe Annie or now the new RDG Bar Annie in Houston. If you looked at his menu, you’d notice that he likes three things: chiles, coffee, and raisins. I’m all for the first two, which is why I made these pureed chile sauce/hot coffee braised short ribs. The heavy sauce was lightened with lime juice and the bitterness was offset by the touch of maple syrup. Always a great idea for a special weekend dinner.

Braised Short Ribs

Coffee Ancho Chile Braised Short Ribs


  • 4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and ribs  discarded
  • 2 cups boiling-hot water
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped canned chipotle chiles in  adobo plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 4lb bone-in beef short ribs
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee


  1. Preheat oven to 275°F.
  2. Soak ancho chiles in  boiling water for 20 minutes until softened, then drain in a colander. Transfer ancho chiles to a blender and purée with onion, garlic, chipotles with sauce, maple syrup, lime juice, and 1 teaspoon salt.
  3. Pat ribs dry and sprinkle with pepper and remaining 2 teaspoons salt on both sides of ribs. Heat oil in a large oven proof heavy skillet (use a skillet with a lid) over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown ribs, about 3 minutes per side, turning only once. Transfer ribs to plate.
  4. Add chile purée to fat remaining in oven-proof skillet (be careful of splatter) and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water and coffee and bring to a boil, then add ribs (liquid should come about halfway up sides of meat).
  5. Cover skillet tightly with the lid and braise ribs in middle of oven until very tender, 4 hours. I recommend serving the short ribs over this polenta recipe. The combination can’t be any better.

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3 comments for “Spiced Up Short Ribs: in Coffee + Chiles Braise

  1. Chris and Amy
    May 6, 2012 at 6:55 am

    Drooling, we are. Love short ribs and these flavors sound amazing.

  2. juniakk @ mis pensamientos
    May 8, 2012 at 10:16 am

    i’ve never heard of coffee with meat before! i bet it adds such great flavor!

  3. wok with ray
    May 9, 2012 at 7:09 am

    I love the look of the meat falling off the bone. It looks very juicy. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

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