Braised Chile-Spiced Short Ribs with Black Beans

Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.

Suggested Use:
Anchos are great in salsa, soups, enchilada and any sauce needing mild heat and chile flavor. Chopped, pureed or ground, they can be added directly to your recipes.

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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.

Serves 6.

Recipe by Maggie Ruggiero via