Short Ribs Braised in Coffee Ancho Chile Sauce
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.
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.
4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and ribs discarded
2 cups boiling water
1 medium onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp finely chopped canned chipotle in adobo plus 2 tsp adobo sauce
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
3 tsp salt
6 lb beef short ribs or flanken
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup brewed coffee
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Soak ancho chiles in boiling-hot water until softened, about 20 minutes, then drain in a colander set over a bowl. Taste soaking liquid: It will be a little bitter, but if unpleasantly so, discard it. Otherwise, reserve for braising. Transfer ancho chiles to a blender and purée with onion, garlic, chipotles with sauce, maple syrup, lime juice, and 1 teaspoon salt.
Pat ribs dry and sprinkle with pepper and remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown ribs in 3 batches, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer as browned to a roasting pan just large enough to hold ribs in 1 layer.
Carefully add chile purée to fat remaining in skillet (use caution, since it will splatter and steam) and cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, 5 minutes. Add reserved chile soaking liquid (or 1 1/2 cups water) and coffee and bring to a boil, then pour over ribs (liquid should come about halfway up sides of meat).
Cover roasting pan tightly with foil and braise ribs in middle of oven until very tender, 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Skim fat from pan juices and serve with ribs.
Cooks’ note: • Ribs improve in flavor if braised 2 days ahead. Cool, uncovered, then chill, surface covered with parchment paper or wax paper and roasting pan covered with foil. Remove any solidified fat before reheating.