One-Pot Wonders

Short Rib & Pumpkin Chili

September 22, 2015
14 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 4 hours
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon hot Spanish pimentón (or other hot, smoked paprika)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 pounds short ribs (bone-in, or 3 pounds boneless)
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup gochujang (Korean chili paste)*
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Maggi seasoning (or 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce)
  • 2 12-ounce bottles oatmeal stout beer
  • 1/2 cup espresso (or strong coffee)
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate (or 1 tablespoon unsweetened powdered chocolate)
  • 1 tablespoon masa harina (or corn meal) mixed into 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15.5-ounce can black beans
  • 3 cups more or less cubed, peeled cooking pumpkin (1/2-inch cubes). Can substitute butternut squash.
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Hot sauce of choice, jalapeño rings, sour cream/Mexican creme, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro (for garnish)
  1. *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.
  2. Combine the chili powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, dried oregano, dried thyme, and pimentón (smoked paprika) in a small bowl.
  3. Season the ribs with salt and pepper.
  4. 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.
  5. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Spoon chili into bowls and garnish with hot sauce, shredded cheese, sour cream, jalapeno rings, and cilantro (or some combination thereof, depending on tastes).
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53 Reviews

Young April 6, 2024
Wow! Love this post...keep the good world. see the update here.
The World Street News

Julie November 13, 2023
The chili is tasty- different from regular chili. I cooked mine at 300* for about 2 hours, added the pumpkin and beans and returned to the oven for another 30 minutes. Any longer I think the meat would dry out and the pumpkin would get too mushy. There is no "spice " to it so I added a ghost pepper while cooking. I think it needs 2. I would make this again but tweak the spice level.
padgett.jon November 28, 2022
This recipe is wrong. There is no way you can cook it at 400 degrees for that many hours. Don't ruin your pot like I did.
Jamie October 29, 2022
Wow! Delicious, rich, complex and overall a pretty simple chili once you source all the ingredients. I cooked at 325F for 3 hours stirring every hour or so and the meat was fall apart tender. I let it settle for a couple hours to skim about 1/2c fat off the surface before adding the pumpkin and beans. I served it alongside some maple cornbread from King Arthur’s website and an earthy beet stout from Lasting Joy Brewery in Tivoli, NY. HIGHLY RECOMMEND
Amy S. October 16, 2021
I prepped this tonight for a dinner with friends tomorrow. Thanks for everyone’s advice. I cooked in a 325 degree oven for 3 hours and will finish tomorrow with the beans and pumpkin. Should give tonight for the flavors to become more complex. I did use the chipotles and adobo (one of my favs) and included gluten free beer for a friend (included in one of the reviews). So far, the flavors are fantastic. I can’t wait to finish tomorrow. Gonna serve with polenta for those who want it. I will make this again!
NXL December 30, 2020
I have made this recipe twice, and the flavors are fantastic! I used temperature of 325 and ended up with a thick gravy. The meat is tender and delicious, but the amount of fat drippings is off putting, more than a cup spooned off. If I ever try this again, I would use a leaner cut.
FoodBlog C. November 3, 2020
Really an excellent chili recipe! All five taste senses engaged. I used well-marbled chuck-eye steak instead of the short-ribs because I didn't want to shred the meat. Also, as several other reviews have indicated, braising at 400 F. is too hot. Lower the oven temp to 325 and braise for 3-3 1/2 hours. Otherwise, I followed the recipe as written and am very pleased. It is a keeper. Thank you!
vinylhaven January 11, 2020
This the the ultimate chili. This is the chili you want to be remembered by. This chili will win hands down in any competition. Worth the cost of short ribs. hankering for it even though we ate it all. Every last spoonful. However, watch your pot. I used a le crueset style dutch oven. It didn't need as much time and I added alot more liquid in the end. It could of gone horribly wrong but alas it didn't. try it you will be amazed.
aderobert November 4, 2019
Agreeing with several other reviewers that 400 degrees was *far* too high (using a Le Creuset). It was definitely on us for not checking periodically, but we ended up with a whole lot of caked-on black mess and an overly reduced chili. The flavors, though, were quite good; I think I might make this again with some adjustments to the temperature.

Adding sour cream/yogurt, lime, and/or cilantro at the end is important — otherwise, it's a very rich dish with not much to cut through the (delicious) fat from the short ribs.

To clean the Dutch oven, we sprinkled in a generous amount of salt and baking soda, filled it with water, and let that simmer for about an hour. Took maybe ten minutes of elbow grease after that to get it all off, so not bad all things considered!
Jacob February 18, 2018
Made my own rendition of this recipe. Great guide. Baked 3 mid-sized yams and mashed them in instead of pumpkin, which allowed me to skip the addition of extra sugar and corn meal/product for thickening. Went the stove top route simmer instead of the oven and it worked like a charm. Recommend going a little heavier on the coriander as it pairs well with the coffee.
allekas November 5, 2017
I made a gluten-free version of this to great success last night. GF oatmeal stout is a bit of a unicorn and the darkest GF beer I could find was a Ghostfish Pale Ale. It worked fine. Similarly the gochujang and maggi are out, but sambal oelek and Worcestershire are worthy subs. All the flavors came together as something greater - rich, smoky, with a good amount of well-played heat. I used a multi-purpose stockpot - I think a 12QT with about an 11" base - in the oven at 350. It was done in 3 hours. The pumpkin took about 40 minutes - I doubled it and the beans and I'm glad I did. You can also leave out the beans entirely - we had a bean allergy at the table too so pulled some of the ribs and sauce to a smaller pan and added pumpkin only; again worked great. I had no problem removing bones - as soon as I added the pumpkin and stirred at 3h, the meat shredded itself and the bones came clean. My daughter who hates leftovers specifically asked me to save what she couldn't eat - and other than that there were none. I will definitely make this again when I want to wow a crowd and clean my house at the same time. Well done, Pete! Thank you for the recipe!
Robert A. November 2, 2017
This sounds awesome. I will give it a go this winter [2017]. Kudos to the Pete. One of the very few recipes that give alternative/substitute ingredients. That makes this a winner. Thank you,.
K G. October 22, 2017
Made this last night and loved it! Great flavors! I did cook mine at 300 out of fear from other reviews, but think it would have been fine at 400 too. Tempted to try it again at the high temperature. Props to you for a fantastic recipe!
awc October 10, 2017
The gochujang I finally found in a Chinese market, it says "fermented chili paste" on it and " gochujang " in little bitty script letters in one corner. I sure wish I had followed my usual routine of scanning the comments before I started this and I wouldn't be soaking and scraping the Le Creuset now. Despite all that char (blackened chili?) I like the flavor profile and will likely try it again when I have $45 to venture on short ribs.
ymar February 21, 2017
Ok. This was absolute WOW. The complexity of flavor was incredible and definitely new and interesting. I've been using gochujang in some unexpected ways, and I've done various mole type sauces, but this combination with these spices, the beer, and the squash was just incredible. Everyone kept 'tasting' it over and over until about half of the chili had disappeared! I'd love some other ideas from Pete.
Anne I. February 9, 2017
This is a recipe for when I don't feel like cooking? You must be kidding! This is the sort of thing I might do when I am feeling flush (because I'd have to go out and buy a bunch of the ingredients), and have lots of time. What I cook when I don't feel like cooking (not counting reheating and possibly recombining leftovers) is more on the order of scrambled eggs with some fancy sauce that's in that's in the fridge drizzled over them and just maybe some grated cheese.
Barbara B. February 9, 2017
And who orders Chinese Food or pizza.
I'd like a show of hands although I won't see them.
I adore food 52 but this is pretty funny.
Barbara B. February 9, 2017
OK. Who makes short ribs when they don't feel like cooking?
Steven W. February 9, 2017
The idea I to get ti going and let it cook while you live your life...these don't take that long.prep wise...
Steven W. February 7, 2017
PLEASE...PLEASE do NOT give your dog the cooked bones from the short ribs...raw bones are ok for most dogs and just because "you've never seen a problem" with giving cooked bones to your dog doesn't mean they canno thave very serious issues. Cooked bones can and will splinter, or a larg piece can become wedged in the dogs mouth (smaller dogs are prone to this) and or the splinters can tear the dogs throat or stomach. Large dogs may be able to swallow a short rib bone whole and then you are going to be having a surgery bill to remove the blockage. This can be life threatening. Please don't try it. Just toss then safely away.
janet G. January 22, 2016
Very similar to mole with far more ingredients and time consuming for very similar taste. Flavored very muddled and messy. Definitely Do not put in oven, use stove top. More pumpkin as it lightened it. Would not make again