Wednesday, February 6, 2013

short rib chili nachos.

Back in my glory days (aka when I was in college), Tuesday evening was half-priced nacho night at the popular college bar on Main Street.  My friends and I would hightail it there at around 5:30 where we would command a large table and order a couple of large plates of nachos (and by large I mean humongous) and several pitchers of beers (and then several more pitchers of beers).  We would sit there for hours laughing far too loudly and getting far too drunk then one should normally get on a Tuesday evening.  But we were young and carefree and twenty-one and at that time there was nothing more fun then that.  Nachos and beer will always have a special nostalgic place in my heart which is why whenever party food is required I always revert back to them.  There is something comforting about the melted cheese and the plethora of toppings. Eating them always reminds me of my youth.  When I saw this recipe on the NYTimes a week ago, I knew immediately what I was whipping up for the Superbowl.  This is a refined and more "adult" nacho recipe.  The chips aren't weighed down with a ton of assorted toppings.  Instead it's almost delicate (or as delicate as meat and cheese and chip can be), with each chip getting the perfect amount of stuff.  The short ribs are rich and tender and the addition of some pureed avocado provides the perfect amount of freshness.  This is the kind of nacho that I imagine will become a new (adult) crowd-pleaser.  

Short Rib Chili Nachos 
Recipe via the NYTimes

Serves 8-12 

I halved the below recipe and then I also froze some of the meat because I am dying to make a wonderful quesadilla with it at a later date!  I can also envision it atop of grits or polenta.  Actually that sounds really delicious.  The below recipe also looks intimidating with it's list of ingredients but I promise you, it couldn't be easier.  

4 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, patted dry
5 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, more to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 jalapeño or serrano peppers, halved lengthwise, seeded if desired
1 onion, peeled and quartered lengthwise
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro stems, and 1/4 cup chopped leaves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons chile powder, to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (12-ounce) bottle Mexican lager, like Negra Modelo
1 (13-ounce) package corn tortilla chips
8 ounces white Cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups)
4 avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
Juice of 1 lime
1 1/2 cups store-bought fresh salsa, preferably salsa verde
1 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
Hot sauce, optional

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Season short ribs with 3 teaspoons salt and the black pepper. Let rest while you prepare sauce.

Place a large, dry Dutch oven over high heat. Add garlic, peppers and onion to the dry pan. Cook, turning occasionally, until lightly charred all over, about 10 minutes.

Transfer garlic, peppers and onion to a blender. Add tomatoes with juice, cilantro stems, oregano and 1 teaspoon salt. Purée until smooth.

Return Dutch oven to medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Sear short ribs in batches, until well-browned all over, about 20 minutes. Transfer browned ribs to a bowl.

Stir chile powder, cumin and coriander into pot and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste and cook until it begins to caramelize, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomato-pepper purée and beer and bring to a simmer. Return short ribs to pot, cover and transfer to oven. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, then uncover pot, give meat a stir, and continue baking until ribs are fork tender and falling off bone, 30 to 45 minutes longer, for a total cooking time of 2 to 2 1/4 hours. (If you have time, let short ribs mixture cool, refrigerate overnight, then remove fat before proceeding.)

Once ribs are cool enough to handle, remove from pot, reserving sauce. Shred meat and discard bones and gristle. If sauce seems thin, simmer on stove until it thickens enough to coat a wooden spoon. Return meat to pot.
Heat broiler. Spread tortilla chips on a rimmed baking sheet. Top evenly with meat and sauce. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Broil until hot and cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes.

In a small bowl, mash together avocados, lime juice and 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste.
Dollop avocado, salsa and sour cream over hot nachos and drizzle with hot sauce if desired. Scatter the chopped cilantro leaves over top.

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