At first glance, this thing looks daunting. But once you've assembled the ingredients, it really is pretty straightforward. I've taken a more than a few liberties on traditional chili. I've used inspirations from a Bon Appétit squash chili recipe, a Washington Post lamb chili recipe, and a Food Lab (Serious Eats) recipe. The short ribs give a heartiness that you just won't get from ground beef or even stew meat. I prefer bone-in ribs, as boneless meat won't give the chili the same complexity and texture. I like the hints of mole using the chocolate, and the background notes of coffee. —Pete
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Pete is a fairly new member of the Food52 community. This is his first finalist!
WHAT: A hearty, super-autumnal short rib chili with all our favorite things (chocolate! coffee! beer!) in it.
HOW: Braise short ribs, then stew them with a hefty spice mixture, beer, coffee, and chocolate. Stir in chili veterans (tomatoes, black beans) and chunks of pumpkin for a one-pot, all-fall meal.
WHY WE LOVE IT: As Pete says, this chili has a sizable ingredient list—but the result is an ideal chili for fall's cooler weather (and it stays true to its one-pot claim). It's smoky, but each ingredient still shines through—and it's stick-too-your-ribs hearty. —The Editors
dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
hot Spanish pimentón (or other hot, smoked paprika)
short ribs (bone-in, or 3 pounds boneless)
masa harina (or corn meal) mixed into 1/2 cup hot water
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
15.5-ounce can black beans
more or less cubed, peeled cooking pumpkin (1/2-inch cubes). Can substitute butternut squash.
Freshly ground black pepper
Hot sauce of choice, jalapeño rings, sour cream/Mexican creme, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro (for garnish)
In This Recipe
*In place of gochujang, you can use another Asian chili paste, or use the peppers from a can of chipotles en adobo: Finely chop 2 of the chipotles and mix together with 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce. It’s a totally different flavor profile but more common to find.
Combine the chili powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, dried oregano, dried thyme, and pimentón (smoked paprika) in a small bowl.
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, transferring them to a platter as they are done.
Preheat oven to 400° 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, then stir in the gochujang, tomato paste, soy sauce, Maggi seasoning, and the chili powder-spice mixture. Cook for about 1 minute, then stir in 1 1/2 bottles of the beer into the chili; drink the other half of the second bottle. (A total of 16 to 18 ounces of beer should end up in the chili.) Add the coffee, chocolate, masa harina, and tomatoes. Add the seared ribs and cook, stirring a few times, until the mixture reaches a brisk simmer. Transfer the covered pot to the oven and cook for 3 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender and falling apart.
Stir pumpkin, black beans, and brown sugar into the chili. Continue cooking until the pumpkin is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven. Remove the ribs from the pan and allow to cool enough to handle. Remove meat from ribs (if using bone-in ribs). The meat should be fall-apart tender. Discard bones or save them for your dog. Using two forks, coarsely shred the meat and return to the chili. Season to taste with salt.
Spoon chili into bowls and garnish with hot sauce, shredded cheese, sour cream, jalapeno rings, and cilantro (or some combination thereof, depending on tastes).