Baked Short Ribs and Pasilla Pepper Sauce

This image courtesy of Alex Hayden

The pasilla pepper is one of our favorite peppers to cook with. It is wonderful in moles and sauces. One of the “holy trinity” of peppers, pasilla is a dried chilaca chile, also known as chile negro. This smoky yet mild pepper gives this dish depth of flavor.

Makes6 to 8 servings

Cooking MethodBraising


Total Timeunder 4 hours

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe CourseMain Course

Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Gluten-free, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free


Taste and TextureHot & Spicy, Meaty, Spiced


  • 1 dried pasilla pepper, rehydrated, seeded, stemmed, and finely chopped
  • 4 pounds beef short ribs (boneless), rinsed and patted dry, excess fat trimmed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • ½ cup pureed roasted red peppers (if using canned roasted red peppers, be sure to drain and rinse them before pureeing)
  • One 14.5-ounce can tomato sauce
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 whole star anise
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. To rehydrate the pasilla pepper, place it in a bowl, cover with boiling hot water, and soak for 5 minutes.

  2. To prepare the ribs, season with salt and pepper on both sides. Put a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, then add the ribs, fat side down. Cook turning once, until browned on all sides, for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the ribs to a plate and reserve.

  3. Meanwhile, in a 5/2-quart Dutch oven add the oil and butter and, heat over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until they start to soften, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pureed roasted red peppers, pasilla pepper, tomato sauce, red wine, star anise, cinnamon, five-spice powder, and bay leaves. Add the short ribs back to the pot, and wrap the lid with a slightly damp kitchen towel, pulling tight, placing the corners on top of the pot. Do not let the towel fall into the dish.

  4. Put the Dutch oven in the preheated oven on the middle rack. Cook until the meat falls apart easily with a fork, about 1½ to 2 hours. Serve on a plate with buttered egg noodles.


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