Americanized Paella: Heaven in a Pan

Americanized Paella: Heaven in a Pan




My recipe for Chili Roasted Beef Short Ribs is published in my book Sunday Best Dishes; A Cookbook for Passionate Cooks. Bone-in beef ribs are browned and then bathed in a braising sauce of red wine, beef broth, tomato paste and chili sauce. A dice of veggies (onion, celery, carrots, peppers and garlic) add flavor, and cinnamon sticks and an ancho pepper (or two) tucked into the mix make all the difference.

Yes, these ribs are a meal unto their own, but what if you take them to the next level? Let’s create a dish that uses braised short ribs to Americanize an international staple; traditional Spanish paella.

Paella comes from the word paella, which is French for pan. The one thing all types of paella have in common is the pan. It’s usually large, round and shallow – perfect for cooking the rice commonly found in paella dishes. Most often the dish is cooked over an open fire. What varies are the other ingredients, which include chicken and sausage, shellfish, rabbit, duck and sometimes snails! (My short rib paella is sounding better and better… right!)

To create the paella, remove the short rib meat from the bones in big chunks. Place rice into the bottom of a paella pan (or shallow baking dish). Layer the meat on top of the rice. Place slices of Portobello mushrooms on top of the beef. Sprinkle with peas. Pour the sauce from the braised short ribs over everything. At this point you can also add beef broth. You want everything to be a little soupy. Bake the dish at 300° for thirty minutes, or until the rice is plumped. Bring the pan to the table and dig in!

Chili Roasted Beef Short Ribs


Prepare these ribs in the morning and slow roast in the oven while you enjoy your Sunday afternoon. It’s melt in your mouth comfort with just a hint of heat. 

8 beef short ribs, about 3 to 4 pounds (choose ribs that are thick and meaty)

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 cup (or more) unbleached all-purpose flour for dredging

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 large red onion, diced, about 1 cup

2 large carrots, diced, about 1 cup

2 medium celery ribs, diced, about 1 cup

6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced, about ¼ cup

2 large jalapeno peppers, seeded and deveined, diced, about 2 tablespoons

1 750ml bottle red wine

1 quart homemade beef broth, or low sodium beef broth

1 cup tomato paste

1 cup chili sauce

1 large chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, seeded and diced, about 2 tablespoons

2 cinnamon sticks

Chopped, fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 250°. Season the ribs with chili powder, salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven (or large roasting pan) over medium high heat. Dredge each rib in flour, shaking off the excess. Place each rib into the oil and brown on all sides. Remove the ribs to a platter. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic and jalapeno to the pan. Cook until the veggies are soft.

Pour in the wine and beef broth. Stir in the tomato paste and chili sauce. Bring the liquid to a boil. Return the ribs and any juices on the platter to the pan. Bury the cinnamon sticks in the sauce.

Cover the Dutch oven with the lid (or place aluminum foil over the pan). Place the pan into the oven and cook until the meat is tender and pulling away from the bone, about 6 to 7 hours.

Remove the pan from the oven. Remove the cover. Place the ribs onto a platter and spoon the sauce over top. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.

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