Texas-Style Beef Short Rib Chili, Two Ways recipe from cooking with cocktail rings

Texas-Style Beef Short Rib Chili, Two Ways

One of the major differences between Texas-style chili and the other chili recipes out there is that the classic preparation does not include any beans. As I started researching the history of the dish and its different iterations, I saw some that were made with beans and some without. When questioning my friend Sean from @sorryimtexan about the Texan special also known as chili con carne, the first thing he told me was, “just warning you that if there are beans, there will be backlash”. It is thought that beans were eventually added to chili to make it cheaper to produce and stretch the dish to feed more people (namely farm hands in the early 1900s). According to the Texas Chili Parlor in Austin, TX in the 1800s women sold chili at roadside stands were referred to as “chili queens” and I think that is my new aspirational title.  

Texans take their chili so seriously that it was named the official state dish of the Lone Star State in 1977 through a resolution passed in the state legislature. Why? Because Texans believe only Texans know how to make real chili! While I take slight offense to this notion, I respect their commitment to the dish. To wit: The ghost town of Terlingua, Texas holds the International chili cook-off annually and the only way to enter is with proof of winning a smaller chili contest.  

This chili con carne builds smoky heat from the roasted and reconstituted guajillo, ancho and arbol chilies -- the base of the deep reddish/ brown sauce (also known as “bowl of red” because of the signature color). The goal of Texas chili is to develop a rich and hearty stew starting with beef and chilies and coax complex flavors out of those few simple ingredients. While tomatoes are another ingredient up for contention, I use a little tomato paste to add to the deep flavors. Masa harina is a dried corn flour used here to thicken the base of the chili. It can be found in the Latin American section of a grocery store, Latin American markets or here on Amazon

Made in a Dutch oven, this recipe aims to develop the tender meat created by braising and then transforming it into a stew. This recipe can be created using either a pressure cooker or Instant Pot as well; both methods are included with instructions below. Removing the seeds to the chilies is crucial – the goal is to use the flavor without an overpowering spice (the spice of chilies is in the seeds).

Pair a bowl with a side of homemade cornbread and a bottle of Shiner Bock and you’re set. 

 

Ingredients:

For the chili paste: 

2 dried guajillo chilies, stems and seeds removed 

2 dried ancho chilies, stems and seeds removed 

5 dried arbol chilies, stems and seeds removed 

 

For the Texas-style short rib chili: 

3 pounds boneless short ribs, cut into 2” pieces 

Kosher salt, as needed 

Freshly ground black pepper, as needed 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

1 medium yellow onion, diced 

3 cloves garlic, chopped 

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon oregano

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons tomato paste 

12 ounces stout beer 

2 cups beef stock 

1 ounce unsweetened Mexican dark chocolate 

¼ cup masa harina 

 

For serving: 

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 cup sour cream

¼ cup diced red onion 

¼ cup thinly sliced green onion

¼ cup chopped cilantro

Cornbread, get the recipe here 

 

Instructions for a Dutch Oven: 

For the chili paste: 

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat, then add the chilies and toast, shaking the pan frequently, until the chilies are fragrant, about 2 minutes on each side. Be careful not to let them burn. Place the chilies in a medium heatproof bowl and cover with 2 cups of boiling water and let sit until soft, about 20 minutes. Add the chilies in the water to a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. 

 

For the Texas-style short rib chili: 

Heat oven to 300ºF. 

Season the short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large 7-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Sear the short ribs in batches until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes total. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Turn the heat to medium then add the onion and sauté until tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about an additional 15 to 20 seconds. Stir in the paprika, cumin, oregano, and cinnamon, then cook until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and the homemade chili paste mixture. Return the short ribs to the pot and pour the beer and beef stock over the top. 

Bring the mixture to a boil then lower heat and tightly cover, cooking until the short ribs are tender and easily pulls apart, about 2½ - 3 hours. Stir in the chocolate until combined. 

Ladle about 1 cup of the sauce into a small bowl and whisk in the masa harina. Pour the mixture back into the pot and stir to combine and thicken the sauce. Use the back of the spoon to separate some of the pieces of the short rib – they should easily fall apart. 

 

For serving: 

Ladle the chili into bowls and top with desired servings with a side of cornbread. 

 

Serves 6.

 Instructions for an Instant Pot/ Pressure cooker: 

For the chili paste: 

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat, then add the chilies and toast, shaking the pan frequently, until the chilies are fragrant, about 2 minutes on each side. Be careful not to let them burn. Place the chilies in a medium heatproof bowl and cover with 2 cups of boiling water and let sit until soft, about 20 minutes. Add the chilies in the water to a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. 

 

For the Texas-style short rib chili: 

Season the short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat a 6-quart instant pot to “sauté” setting. When it says “hot” add the olive oil and heat through then working it batches, add the short ribs and brown on all sides, about 6 minutes total. Remove to a large bowl and set aside. Add the onion to the instant pot and sauté until tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about an additional 15 to 20 seconds. Stir in the paprika, cumin, oregano, and cinnamon, followed by the tomato paste and the homemade chili paste mixture. Return the short ribs to the pot and pour the beer and beef stock over the top. 

Close the lid to the instant pot and secure closed and set to pressure cook on high. Pressure cook for 30 minutes then let the pressure release naturally. Once the pressure indicator has gone down, open the lid. 

Ladle about 1 cup of the sauce into a small bowl and whisk in the masa harina. Pour the mixture back into the pot and stir to combine and thicken the sauce. Use the back of the spoon to separate some of the pieces of the short rib – they should easily fall apart. Stir in the Mexican chocolate until melted and combined. 

 

For serving: 

Ladle the chili into bowls and top with desired servings with a side of cornbread. 

 

Serves 6.  

 

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