Mini Ancho Short Rib Tamales

Mini Ancho Short Rib Tamales



Short Ribs and Gravy

  • 3 lbs. Sterling Silver Premium Beef Bone-in Short Ribs
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, medium dice
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cups stout beer
  • 6 cups beef broth, divided, plus up to ½ cup more, as needed
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour


  • 2 bags dried corn husks, about 3 dozen
  • 4 cups masa mix for tamales
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups reserved beef broth, warm
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening

Ranchero Sauce

  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, medium dice
  • 2 poblano peppers, roasted, diced
  • 4 jalapeño peppers, small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 6 Tbsp. ancho powder
  • 3 Tbsp. guajillo powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 2 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper


  • Open tamale, cover with sauce and garnish with queso fresco and green onions.

Short Ribs and Gravy Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in lower third. Add olive oil to Dutch oven or heavy saucepan with tight-fitting lid over high heat.
  2. Season ribs all over with salt and pepper; add them to pan in single layer (work in batches if necessary), and sear, turning occasionally, until ribs are deep brown all over, about 15 minutes total. Transfer to platter and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add onions to Dutch oven. Season with pinch of salt and cook until browned and softened, about 8 minutes.
  4. Stir in garlic and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring; then add beer, 5 cups of beef broth and thyme and rosemary sprigs. Scrape bottom of pan to dislodge any browned bits, bring to boil and add short ribs back in.
  5. Cover with aluminum foil and lid and place in oven. Braise until meat is very tender, about 3 hours.
  6. While short ribs are cooking, make a roux. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring with wooden spoon, for 2 minutes to cook off taste of raw flour. Remove saucepan from heat and set aside.
  7. When short ribs are done, use slotted spoon to transfer meat to a platter. Remove herb sprigs and discard them. With large metal spoon, skim some fat from top of braising liquid.
  8. Return Dutch oven to stovetop over medium heat, add remaining 1 cup beef broth, and bring to gentle simmer. Finish with more salt if needed. Pull meat or serve as is.
  9. Whisk in reserved roux a little at a time until braising liquid thickens into a gravy. (If it seems too thick, add a bit more beef broth.) Gently simmer gravy, whisking occasionally, about 15 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, remove bones from short ribs along with excess fat and gristle and shred meat into small, bite-size pieces. Add the meat to gravy. Season with pepper, taste, and add more salt if needed.

Tamales Preparation

  1. Sort corn husks by size and remove any silks or debris. Soak husks in sink filled with warm water until soft, about 30 minutes. (You can also soak husks in large bowls of water if you are not doing a lot of tamales.)
  2. In deep bowl, combine masa, baking powder and salt. Pour broth into masa a little at a time, working it in with your fingers. In small bowl, beat vegetable shortening until fluffy. Add it to masa and beat until dough has a spongy texture.
  3. Rinse, drain and dry corn husks. Set them out on sheet pan covered by a damp towel along with bowls of masa dough and beef in chili sauce.
  4. Start with largest husks because they are easier to roll. Lay husk flat on a plate or in your hand with smooth side up and narrow end facing you. Spread thin, even layer of masa over surface of husk with a tablespoon dipped in water. The easiest method of spreading masa is with a masa spreader (see side panel for how this is used). Do not use too much; keep the masa thin. 
  5. Add about 1 tablespoon meat filling in center of masa. Fold narrow end up to center and then fold both sides together to enclose filling. The sticky masa will form a seal. Pinch the wide top closed.
  6. Fold sides of corn husk to center over masa so that they overlap to make a long. Fold empty part of the husk under so that it rests against the side of tamale with a seam.
  7. Place tamales in steamer and cook for 2 hours. Check every 20 minutes.  Do not let water boil away. The tamale is cooked when it separates easily from corn husk.

Ranchero Sauce Preparation

  1. In sauce pot over medium-high heat, add oil, onion, peppers and garlic; cook until onions are translucent.
  2. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, spices and bring to boil; simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Puree sauce in blender; add salt and pepper, and more salt as needed. If too thick, add more braising stock to desired texture.