Saturday, February 10, 2018

Pecos River Red Chili (Short Rib & Slow Cooker Version)

I have tried a million chili recipes and none of them hold a candle to my favorite chili from The Loon Cafe in the warehouse district of downtown Minneapolis. Pecos River Red Chili has the most incredible and sophisticated blend of spices. It is a chili for the true carnivore....steak but no beans.

I've been making this chili for 36 years. The recipe on my blog is one of the most read. I first posted it in October of 2010...the very first month I started writing here. This week, I had not found a new recipe that tickled my fancy, so I decided to visit an old favorite and see if I could improve on it.

The Loon's recipe uses sirloin. Sirloin is lean and cooks up quick. I think the sirloin is a good cut of beef, but I'm a huge fan of fat in my beef as fat equals flavor. If I'm cooking steak, I always opt for ribeye. FAT!!!!! Shout it out!

So what I decided to do was add more fat to the Loon's recipe. But if you just substitute ribeye for sirloin, you're just getting more fat. I wanted the chili to be more flavorful and I wanted each piece of meat to just absolutely melt in your mouth.

So I decided to  turn to one of my favorite cuts of beef, short ribs. Short ribs are chock full of fat and collagen. But if you just brown the beef and throw it in the pot, it's going to be tough and chewy. That's where the slow cooker comes in. Eight hours in a slow cooker melts the fat and collagen, thereby boosting the flavor while turning each bite into the most tender beef you will ever taste.

The trick to maximizing flavor is to put a really high-heat sear on the short ribs. You don't want to cook just want to sear them. You want the slow cooker to do the cooking. So to sear, I used a wok at full heat, working in small batches at a time. It took just seconds to put the perfect sear on the cubed short ribs. If you don't have a wok, use a cast iron pan. But make sure you have the heat cranked all the way up! If you like your chili really spicy, dice a jalapeño pepper and sauté  it with the onions.

2 pounds of boneless short ribs, diced in half inch cubes
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups diced, green, roasted chiles (I use mild...available in cans)
2 cups of tomato sauce
4 tablespoons of paprika (smoked paprika preferred)
2-1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons oregano (Mexican oregano preferred)
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 cup of chicken broth

Mexican cheese and diced onions for garnish


  1. Over extremely high heat, quickly sear the cubed short ribs in small batches. When seared, add beef to slow cooker.
  2. Turn down stove to medium-high heat and sauté  onions until translucent, about 3 minutes. Put in slow cooker.
  3. Add all other ingredients to slow cooker. Stir thoroughly. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. After 8 hours, turn slow cooker off. Stir chili and transfer to serving bowls. Garnish with Mexican cheese and diced onions. Serve.

Wine pairing: This is a no-brainer. Look no further than the King of Beef: Argentina. A Reserve Malbec is a great choice and is surprisingly affordable.

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

No comments:

Post a Comment