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Originally published Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 6:00 AM

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Recipe: Short Rib Chili Nachos

These nachos are as over-the-top as the Super Bowl halftime show.

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Serves eight to 12

These aren’t just any nachos. These are topped with a mountain of soft, spicy, chili-braised short ribs; valleys of molten cheese; hillocks of guacamole; rivers of salsa; and creamy pools of sour cream. They are as over-the-top as the Super Bowl halftime show.

The short ribs make this dish substantial enough to be a main course for a small group, a meal that football watchers can eat with their hands without taking their eyes off the ball.

4 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, patted dry

5 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, more to taste

1½ teaspoons black pepper

5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

2 jalapeño or serrano peppers, halved lengthwise, seeded if desired

1 onion, peeled and quartered lengthwise

1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes

½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro stems, and ¼ cup chopped leaves 2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder, to taste

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 (12-ounce) bottle Mexican lager, like Negra Modelo

1 (13-ounce) package corn tortilla chips

8 ounces white cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups)

4 avocados, peeled, pitted and diced

Juice of 1 lime

1½ cups store-bought fresh salsa, preferably salsa verde

1 cup Mexican cream or sour cream

Hot sauce, optional

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Season short ribs with 3 teaspoons salt and the black pepper. Let rest while you prepare sauce.

2. Place a large, dry Dutch oven over high heat. Add garlic, peppers and onion to the dry pan. Cook, turning occasionally, until lightly charred all over, about 10 minutes.

3. Transfer garlic, peppers and onion to a blender. Add tomatoes with juice, cilantro stems, oregano and 1 teaspoon salt. Purée until smooth.

4. Return Dutch oven to medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Sear short ribs in batches, until well browned all over, about 20 minutes. Transfer browned ribs to a bowl.

5. Stir chili powder, cumin and coriander into pot and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste and cook until it begins to caramelize, one to two minutes. Stir in tomato-pepper purée and beer and bring to a simmer. Return short ribs to pot, cover and transfer to oven. Bake for 1½ hours, then uncover pot, give meat a stir, and continue baking until ribs are fork tender and falling off bone, 30 to 45 minutes longer, for a total cooking time of 2 to 2¼ hours. (If you have time, let short ribs mixture cool, refrigerate overnight, then remove fat before proceeding.)

6. Once ribs are cool enough to handle, remove from pot, reserving sauce. Shred meat and discard bones and gristle. If sauce seems thin, simmer on stove until it thickens enough to coat a wooden spoon. Return meat to pot.

7. Heat broiler. Spread tortilla chips on a rimmed baking sheet. Top evenly with meat and sauce. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Broil until hot and cheese is melted, one to two minutes.

8. In a small bowl, mash together avocados, lime juice and 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste.

9. Dollop avocado, salsa and sour cream over hot nachos and drizzle with hot sauce if desired. Scatter the chopped cilantro leaves over top.

From Melissa Clark, The New York Times

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