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Food & Drink

Short ribs are one of winter’s most decadent dinners

Rich, luscious winter foods are my favorite, and short ribs top the list of decadent dinners. There’s a short rib recipe I shared last winter that goes in the crockpot and is very simple with just a handful of ingredients. This week’s recipe comes from “The Essential New York Times Cookbook,” which is a fabulous compilation of incredible classic yet current recipes. The recipe itself is a bit more involved but is still pretty simple once you’ve gathered the ingredients.

You should be able to purchase beef short ribs at most grocery stores. Occasionally there aren’t any left, so sometimes I call ahead to ask the butcher. A good, friendly butcher is worth his or her weight in gold, I tell you. He or she will ensure you get the best of what the store has to offer. I’ve found they appreciate it if you order ahead of time, too, when you need something specific.

The smells of winter foods fill the home with coziness, and the fattier entrees sure keep you satiated through the long winter nights. Perhaps there is something to the winter hibernation mode that our bodies naturally crave this time of year. After all, the days are shorter, the evenings are warmer with crackling fires, and winter calls for more stillness.

These short ribs would pair beautifully with a cheesy polenta, pasta or rice. Some carb is needed to properly revel in that delicious wine/coffee/chile sauce. Perhaps a slice of bread is needed, too. A nice mixed green salad with a tart white wine vinaigrette topped with sautéed shallots and marinated artichoke hearts would complete this meal. Always pour yourself a glass of bold red wine with a rich, beefy entrée – a Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc or Zinfandel will pair perfectly.

Adriene Rathbun is an enthusiastic Wichita cook who offers cooking classes through her business, Social. Reach her at or

Short Ribs with Coffee and Chiles

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 large or 8 small beef ribs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

Pinch of sugar

1 dried pasilla chile, stemmed, seeded and minced

1 dried chipotle chile, stemmed, seeded and minced

1 cup dry red wine

1 cup strong coffee

Drizzle the oil into a heavy pot and brown the ribs well over medium heat, adjusting the heat as necessary to get a dark crust. Take your time, and season the ribs with salt and pepper as they cook. Remove them to a plate. (If there burnt bits in the pot, wipe them out using a paper towel, then add 1 tablespoon oil and set on the stove again.) Turn the heat to low.

Add the carrot, onion, garlic, sugar and chili to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, about 15 minutes.

Add the wine and coffee and reduce by about half over high heat. Return the ribs to the pot, cover and cook over low heat (or a 300-degree oven) for 2 to 3 hours, until very tender – beyond when the meat falls off the bone – turning every hour or so. Taste and adjust seasoning.

“The Essential New York Times Cookbook”

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