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Short Rib Chili

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Winter isn’t so bad when you a giant bowl of short rib chili served over cheesy polenta…

Short Rib Chili by Nutmeg Nanny

Winter around the O’Neill household involves LOTS of soup, stews and chili. Normally I stick to our favorites – beef barley soup, white bean soup with sausage and kale and of course chili. Our basic chili is delicious but not over the top or super unique. So lucky for you I finally broke down and tried something new. Yeah, I should really swap up my chili making because this bowl of deliciousness was ahhhhhmazing! Especially since I served it over cheesy polenta. Chili and polenta – BFF’s for life!

Now if you have never cooked with short ribs before I guess I should be the one to break the news to you. It’s the most delicious cut of meat ever BUT it’s a little fatty. I know, fat. Bummer. So with that said it does need to be skimmed after it’s time in the oven but it’s all worth it. Trust me, when your sitting on your couch devouring this dish your going to forget all about that time you skimmed fat…


You’re still reading………..right?

Short Rib Chili by Nutmeg Nanny

Now, I was asked to come up with crazy delicious chili for the totally awesome folks at MuirGlen and Bob’s Red Mill. I was thrilled when they asked and there was no way I was going to say no. Seriously, who would say no to making a chili recipe…how weird would that be? If you’re into making chili you should head on over to Facebook and check out the MuirGlen #ChiliRoundup Sweepstakes. You could win a chili kit and a slow cooker! Woot Woot!

Oh and real quick can we talk about this cheesy polenta. This stuff is legit. Like truly legit. On it’s own it’s great but once it’s paired with this chili it becomes even better. I like to think of it like a love story. The polenta is like Samantha from Sixteen candles – lovely and nice. The chili is the hunky hot guy – aka Jake Ryan. When put together we get amazingness in the form of a table top kiss while Thompson Twins serenades you in the background.

Ok, I might have lost most of my readers on that analogy. I really love that movie.

Like a lot.

Short Rib Chili by Nutmeg NannyWant even more chili recipes? Check out all these tasty #ChiliRoundup recipes!


Short Rib Chili

Yield: 4 - 6 servings

Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes


For short rib chili:

  • 3 pounds bone-in short ribs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2-1/2 cups beef stock, divided
  • 6 dried pasilla chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped

For cheesy polenta:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup course grain polenta
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces sharp shredded cheese


For short rib chili:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Debone the short ribs leaving large hunks of meat. Heavily salt and pepper the short ribs.

In a large 6 quart dutch oven add the olive oil and set over medium heat. Once the oil is hot add in the short ribs. Only cook a few pieces at a time so you don't crowd the pan. Sear each side until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Set the short ribs aside on a plate.

Once all the meat has been cooked lower the heat to medium low and add in onion. Saute for about 5 minutes until the onion starts to get translucent. Add in garlic and cook for 30 seconds longer until the garlic starts to get fragrant.

Add in cumin, oregano, cocoa powder and mix. Gently (careful not to burn the garlic) simmer while you prepare the chili/tomato mixture. If you mixture is too dry add just a touch of oil to keep it from burning.

In a high powered blender (I used a Vitamix) add 1/2 cup beef stock, dried chilies and 1 can fire roasted tomatoes. Process on high until completely smooth and there are no dried chili pieces. (If you blender is not high powered simply heat the dried chilies with stock over low heat until they are soft and then continue with directions)

Pour mixture into the pan along with the remaining 2 cups beef stock and remaining can of fire roasted tomatoes. Stir together.

Add ribs back to the pan along with any juices that collected on the plate.

Turn the mixture up to medium high and bring to a boil. Once boiling cover and cook in the oven for 3 hours.

After 3 hours remove the pan from the oven, uncover and remove meat with a pair of tongs. If you see any large pieces of fat remove from the meat and shred the rest of the meat with 2 forks.

You will see a layer of grease (I know it sounds gross but it's happens with fatty meat) so skim off as much as you can*. Add in the meat, stir and add to the stove over medium heat. Gently simmer on the stove until the mixture is warmed.

Serve over cheesy polenta and sprinkle with cilantro.

*Another option is to add in the shredded meat and then let the chili completely cool and store overnight in the refrigerator. The next night when you want to re-heat remove from the refrigerator and uncover. The fat that rose to the top will now be solid. You can simply just skim it off the top. This method is also great because the chili get even a million times more flavorful after it sits. Then re-heat over medium heat until hot and bubbly.

For cheesy polenta:
In a large high sided skillet add water, milk and salt. Bring to a boil and slowly whisk in polenta. Once all the polenta has been added turn the heat down to low and slowly whisk until thick. On my stove this takes about 7 minutes.

Once creamy and cooked remove from heat and stir in pepper, butter and cheese. Serve with chili.

Disclosure: I was provided compensation from General Mills to create this recipe. However, all opinions are 100% my own. 

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I absolutely love this recipe! I've made it a few times over the years and every single time it's delicious and a huge hit! I omit the cocoa (because I usually don't have it on hand) and add extra onions and garlic. Adobo chilies work nicely if you can't find pasilla. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, it's one of my all time favorites!

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I am going to attempt to use the sous vide to cook my ribs. Any thoughts on how to adapt this recipe?


Sunday 30th of March 2014

Hi Dee! I'm honestly not sure how to adapt using sous vide cooking. If anything I would say you could make the base, simmer and then add the ribs near the end so they combine in flavor with the chili. This is all a guess on my part though. If you get it to work out please let me know what you did. I would love hear!