Sunday, February 26, 2012

Short Rib Chili with Creamy Pimento Cheese Polenta & Crispy Onion Strings

The weather has been sort of erratic here in Savannah. It's hot one second, and in the next it's freezing cold. Unfortunately this weekend it has been miserably cold. So, I had to switch from fresh summery ingredients back to winter food. This hearty stew is inspired from one of my favorite recipes, Turkey Chili, which is unique in that it has dark cocoa powder and peanut butter as secret ingredients. Instead of using ground turkey, I braised short ribs in the mixture until fall-off-the-bone tender, and then I shredded the meat and returned it to the gravy. I also added in some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for a richer, spicier flavor. Serve this chili on top of one of my favorites, creamy pimento cheese polenta, and top with some crispy onion strings and fresh chives. This meal is so satisfying and warming to the soul on a cold day. Even though I do love this meal, I really hope the weather improves, so I can survive outside. It's just truly yucky here. Oh well, at least there is an excuse to eat delicious food like this!! Enjoy :)
Short Rib Chili with Creamy Pimento Cheese Polenta & Crispy Onion Strings
For the Short Rib Chili:
3lbs Meaty Short Ribs (with bone)
2T Olive Oil
2T Unsalted Butter
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
1T Garlic, Chopped
2 28oz Can of Crushed Tomatoes
1C Water or Beef Stock
1 Can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo
2T Chili Powder
1t Paprika
½t Dried Oregano
½t Pumpkin Pie Spice
1t Cumin
1t Onion Powder
1t Garlic Salt
1T Brown Sugar
¼C Creamy Peanut Butter
2T Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1t Hot Sauce
1t Worcestershire

For the Creamy Pimento Cheese Grits:
3C Chicken Stock
1 ½C Heavy Cream
1C Stone Ground Grits
2T Butter
1C Pimento Cheese
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

1. For the Short Rib Chili: Heat the olive oil in a big pot on medium-high heat. Brown the short ribs in batches and brown all sides, about 5-6 minutes per batch. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate while you make the liquid base. Melt the butter in the same pot that you had browned the short ribs in over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until tender, and then add in the garlic cook for about 2 minutes. Add in the water, crushed tomatoes, and chipotle peppers. Let this mixture cook for about 10 minutes, then stir in chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne, cumin, salt, onion powder, garlic salt, and brown sugar. After it has simmered, stir in the creamy peanut butter, cocoa powder, hot sauce, Worcestershire, and cinnamon. Return the browned short ribs to the pot; stir to coat. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 2-3 hours or until the meat is fall apart tender and the liquid is thick like a chili. Tilt the pot and spoon off any fat that rises to the surface. Using tons, transfer the ribs and any loose bones to a cutting board. Carefully cut the meat off from the bones and membranes. Roughly cut the meat into small cubes. Return the chopped meat into pot. Season to your tastes and let it simmer while you make the grits.
2. For the Creamy Pimento Cheese Grits: Bring the chicken stock and heavy cream to a boil. Add in the stone ground grits in a thin stream, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes (adding salt & extra liquid if needed). When the polenta is done, whisk in the butter and pimento cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Serve the chili hot and on top of a pile of the grits. Garnish it with crispy onion strings and sliced green onion or chives. 

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