Mole-braised beef short ribs



35 min


4 hrs 5 min



Mole-braised beef short ribs

Mole-braised beef short ribs. (Photo, Roberto Caruso.)

Mole is a rich and complex Mexican sauce used to simmer various kinds of meat. This dish can be made up to 3 days in advance.


  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt , divided
  • 2 kg beef short ribs , cut into 1-rib pieces
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large onion , diced
  • 1 head of garlic , skins removed, minced
  • 2 cups full-bodied red wine , such as cabernet sauvignon
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 156-mL can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries , coarsely chopped
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro


  • PREHEAT oven to 350F. Stir flour with cocoa powder and 1/2 tsp salt in a large bowl. Coat ribs lightly, a few at a time, with flour mixture. Transfer ribs to a large plate. Discard any leftover flour.
  • HEAT a large, wide oven-safe pot over medium-high. Add oil, then half of ribs. Cook, turning meat, until brown on all sides, about 4 min. If ribs start to burn, reduce heat to medium. Transfer browned ribs to a large plate. Repeat with remaining ribs. Pour off all but 1 tbsp fat from pan or add oil, if needed.
  • ADD onion. Reduce heat to medium. Stir often, adding a splash of water if needed, 5 min. Stir in garlic, wine, water, tomato paste, cherries, chipotle, oregano, paprika, cumin and remain- ing 1 tsp salt. Stir, scraping up bits from pan bottom, until combined. Boil, then return ribs along with any juices to pan. Add cinnamon stick. Make sure ribs are submerged in sauce. Cover pan tightly.
  • BRAISE, covered, in centre of oven, until meat is fork-tender, 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Remove ribs from sauce and set aside. Skim off fat from sauce. Transfer sauce to a blender and purée until smooth, in batches if necessary. Return to pot. Boil, stirring often, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until slightly reduced, 15 to 20 min. Return ribs to pot to warm through. Cover to keep warm until ready to serve.
  • BOIL milk in a large saucepan. Reserve 1/2 cup milk. Whisk cornmeal and 1/4 tsp salt into milk and cook until thickened but still loose, about 1 min. Remove from heat and let stand 2 min to completely absorb liquid. Whisk in reserved milk. Scoop polenta onto serving platter. Top with ribs and sauce, then sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and cilantro.

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 1268,
  • Protein
  • 67 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 60 g,
  • Fat
  • 83 g,
  • Fibre
  • 4 g,
  • Sodium
  • 600 mg.
  • Excellent source of
  • Iron
Wine Pairing

A rich intense Amarone from the Valpolicella district in northern Italy is far from a traditional partner for Mexican cuisine, but the qualities that the two share make this combination brilliant. Read more on this pairing here.