Braised Short Ribs with Coffee Ancho Chile Sauce

Several years ago, my friend, Blanca, gave me this recipe and told me how good it was.  I promptly misplaced it, so when I recently came across it again, I was anxious to give it a try.  The dish was scrumptious! As a pioneer of New Southwestern cuisine in the 1980s, I would expect nothing less from Robert Del Grande, executive chef and partner of Houston’s acclaimed Cafe Annie.  The spices infuse the meat with a warming heat that doesn’t overpower the tongue or throat but wonderfully showcases the ancho chili/coffee flavors. If you’re not into spicy foods, it may not be the dish for you, but, me, I loved it. I served this over Gruyère Garlic Mashed potatoes with a side green salad and homemade Chocolate Toffee Gelato.  Hubby paired it with a nice bottle of Malbec and “Dinner was Served!”

Braised Short Ribs with Coffee Ancho Chili Sauce

Braised Short Ribs with Coffee Ancho Chile Sauce

Printable Recipe


  • 4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and ribs discarded
  • 2 cups boiling-hot water
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 6 lb beef short ribs or flanken
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon 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.

**I browned and roasted the meat in a Dutch Oven using its own lid instead of foil to cover.  Worked perfectly.

This Chocolate Gelato is one I made in a previous post “Dark Chocolate Fix”.  This time I added toffee bits for a bit of “Heath Bar” flavor.  YUM!

Chocolate/Toffee Gelato

Chocolate/Toffee Gelato


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