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The Minimalist’s Short Ribs with Coffee and Chiles

January 27, 2011

By Kath Dedon


I was inspired to make Mark Bittman’s Short Ribs with Coffee and Chiles yesterday.

Mark Bittman wrote The Minimalist column for the Dining & Wine section of The New York Times every Wednesday for over 13 years. I have really enjoyed the column and the videos each week. Yesterday’s column was entitled “The Minimalist Makes His Exit”. Yes, it was the last Minimalist column.

It’s not, however, the End. Bittman will be writing regularly in the Opinion section of the Times, and he’ll be writing a recipe column for the Sunday Times’ Magazine. Change can be a good thing.

Gabe Johnson, who shot and produced all of the videos I have enjoyed, picked Short Ribs with Coffee and Chiles as his favorite. Last night, we celebrated The Minimalist and had Short Ribs with Coffee and Chiles!

The recipe called for a dried pasilla chile and a dried chipotle chile. I substituted a dried chile de arbol for the pasilla chile, since I couldn’t find a pasilla chile. I think it was a fine substitution.

The ribs smelled so fabulous as they braised, and they tasted great! The chiles added a just-right flavor kick without adding a lot of heat.

Allow enough time for the long, slow braise. Mine took 3½ hours to get to the tender, falling-off-the-bone stage.

Short Ribs with Coffee and Chiles, garnished with chopped cilantro


Short Ribs with Coffee and Chiles

(Adapted from a Mark Bittman recipe from The Minimalist column in The New York Times)


(print the recipe)


Serves 4


1 tablespoon oil

4 large, or 8 small short ribs

Salt and pepper

1 large onion, chopped (my onion was HUGE; I used ½ of it and had 1 ½ cups chopped onions)

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 dried pasilla chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced (or 1 dried chile de arbol)

1 dried chipotle chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced

1 cup dry red wine

1 cup strong coffee

1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat.

2. Brown the short ribs in the oil. Brown each side for about 5 minutes and then turn. Sprinkle with salt and pepper as you turn the ribs.

3. When the ribs are browned, remove to a plate.

4. Reduce the heat to low, and add the onion, garlic, and chiles to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until the onions are softened. Do not allow them to brown.

5. Add the wine and coffee to the pot and turn the heat to high. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to about half.

6. Turn the heat back down to low, and put the ribs back in the pan. It should be barely simmering, with just a few small bubbles. Turn the ribs every hour or so.

7. Cook 3 – 4 hours until the ribs are very tender. Bittman says it should be “beyond when meat falls off the bone”.

Almost done!

18 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2011 6:49 am

    I may have to give these a try…and you KNOW that’s saying something, since I don’t particularly like beef!

  2. January 27, 2011 7:57 am

    I never cooked anything using coffee before. It sounds like an interesting recipe. Your ribs looks tender and juicy. I can’t wait to try it 🙂

  3. January 27, 2011 8:28 am

    These flavor combinations sound great. I’ve heard a lot about beef and coffee, I’ve gotta try it!

  4. January 27, 2011 8:58 am

    I’m in! Coffee, Chili and short ribs….what could be better?

  5. January 27, 2011 9:12 am

    Those ribs turned out really good. They look so tender too. Yummmm

  6. January 27, 2011 10:06 am

    I’m with Jorie, what could be better? I love this recipe – so unique and absolutely flavorful!

  7. January 27, 2011 10:30 am

    This is not a combination I would have thought of , but I have to say they do look incredible and thinking about the flavors really gets the juices flowing!
    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe and nice tribute to the Minimalist….we shall miss his column

  8. January 27, 2011 12:38 pm

    Oh! The Short Ribs look so good. They have so many layers of flavor, the chilies. the coffee, the wine, and garlic. I bet your house smelled amazing as they were cooking. Your pictures are gorgeous.

  9. January 27, 2011 1:38 pm

    This has my name written all over it!

  10. January 28, 2011 8:46 am

    I’ve been such a big fan of his column and will definitely miss it, but look forward to following him in his new projects. Choosing his rib recipe was a lovely tribute to Mark Bittman.

  11. January 28, 2011 8:58 am

    I just make short ribs with some chocolate. I think the chiles would make a great addition or the coffee instead of chocolate.

  12. January 28, 2011 9:37 pm

    This looks delicious! I just learned that Mark Bittman’s column was ending…I’m so glad that you featured one of the Minimalist recipes. Thank you for sharing, sweet woman. I hope you have a happy Saturday. Hugs and love!

  13. January 29, 2011 9:18 am

    I adore short ribs and I adore Mark Bittman. Actually you are not bad either :-). This sounds like a wonderful dish. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings…Mary

  14. January 30, 2011 7:52 am

    I’ll sure miss The Minimalist, and this dish is a perfect illustration why… :((

  15. January 30, 2011 3:00 pm

    i’ve had this recipe bookmarked for months (years?) and have yet to make it. Thanks for the reminder!

  16. February 1, 2011 12:21 pm

    I’ve heard coffee is a good tenderizer. Your short ribs look delicious and so do those cute little brussell sprouts!

  17. chas cogan permalink
    October 8, 2018 4:32 am

    I have made this recipe many times since Bittman’s original video. It is good every time.

    • October 8, 2018 5:40 am

      It is good, isn’t it, Chas. Thanks so much for your comment!

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