Sous Vide Short Rib Pastramiwith Mole Xico and Fondant Potato


Ricardo Heredia was the runner-up in our 2020 International Sous Vide Day recipe contest.


“Lot of techniques to deliver this dish. This is the type of satisfying food that makes you want to dig in and savor.”

—Chef Gerard Bertholon, Chief Strategy Officer, Cuisine Solutions


Short Rib Pastrami Brine:

400 g Kosher salt
170 g brown sugar
1.5 gallons water
8 g Prague Powder #1
30 g yellow mustard seed, toasted
30 g coriander seed, toasted and crushed
90 g black pepper, toasted and crushed
4 bay leaves, crushed
2 whole 4-bone beef short rib plates


Short Rib Pastrami Smoke:

8 brined bone-in short ribs
2 lbs. cherry or other hardwood chunks or chips, soaked


Mole Xico:

280 g red tomato
100 g black sesame seeds
1 cup rendered beef fat
168 g dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large, flat pieces
84 g dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large, flat pieces
84 g dried mulato chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large, flat pieces
35 g garlic cloves, peeled
32 g skinned almonds
32 g skinned hazelnuts
32 g pine nuts
50 g brown figs
50 g Medjool dates
1 whole canela stick
1 whole ripe plantain
4 g whole black peppercorns
2 whole star anise
4 corn tortillas
2 oz dark chocolate
2.5 quarts beef broth
38 g sea salt
70 g piloncillo, grated
(makes 3 quarts)


Fondant Potato:

4 large Kennebec potatoes
8 fl oz chicken stock
120 grams European butter
3 g sea salt


To serve:

8 sous vide short ribs, bone-in
16 fl oz mole xico
2 g toasted white sesame seeds
2 bunches purslane
2 fl oz walnut oil
Salt and pepper to taste



  • Sous vide circulator
  • Container for water bath
  • Sous vide pouches
  • Vacuum sealer
  • Smoker
  • Slotted spoon
  • Blender
  • China cap
  • Chinois
  • Ring mold
  • Blowtorch
  • Grill
  • Hardwood coals


Prepping time: 40 minutes / Cooking time: 5 hours, plus 4 days for brining and curing / Sous vide cooking time: 31 hours




For the Short Rib Pastrami:

  1. Combine brine ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and cool brine overnight uncovered in refrigerator, or shock in ice bath until it registers 40°F (6.7°C). Trim short rib plate, removing most of the fat cap. (Reserve fat and render for making the Mole.) Cut between each bone lengthwise and submerge in cooled brine, using plates to weigh down. Make sure your storage container is plastic or a glass non-reactive vessel. Remove from brine after 3 days, rinse thoroughly in cold water to remove salt, and pat dry. Refrigerate uncovered for 24 hours to equalize the cure. Hold for smoking.
  2. Set smoker at 225°F–250°F (107°C–121°C). Smoke ribs for 2 hours with heavy smoke, adding chips as needed to keep the smoke steady and constant. Turn ribs over after 1 hour to allow optimal coverage.
  3. Set water bath to 143.6°F (62°C). After smoking, allow the ribs to cool at room temperature for at least one hour. Vacuum seal 2 per bag. Submerge sealed short ribs in the water bath for 18 hours. Remove from bath and finish immediately or cool in ice bath and hold.

For the Mole Xico:

  1. Set a water bath to 189°F (87°C). On a baking sheet, roast the tomatoes 4 inches below broiler until splotchy black and thoroughly soft, about 5 minutes per side. Scrape into a large bowl. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds, stirringly nearly constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes. Scrape them in with the tomatoes.
  2. Brown other mole ingredients. In a large sauce pot, heat the rendered beef fat over medium heat. When hot, fry the chilis, 3 or 4 pieces at a time, flipping them nearly constantly with tongs until their interior side has changed to a lighter color, about 20 to 30 seconds total frying time. Don’t toast them so darkly that they begin to smoke—that would make the mole bitter. As they’re done, remove them to a large bowl, being careful to drain as much fat as possible back into the pot. Cover the toasted chilis with hot water and cover. Let rehydrate for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove any stray chili seeds left in the fat. With the pot still over medium heat, fry the garlic, hazelnuts, pine nuts and almonds, stirring regularly, until browned (the garlic should be soft), about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove to the tomato bowl, draining as much fat as possible back into the pot.
  4. Add the dates and figs to the hot pot. Stir for 1-2 minutes, until they’ve puffed and browned slightly. Scoop them out, draining as much fat as possible back into the pot, and add to the tomatoes. Fry the plantain, black peppercorns, star anise, and canela stick for about 3-4 minutes to caramelize the plantain and release the aromas of the spices. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the tomato mixture.
  5. Fry the tortillas pretty well until dark but not burned. Break into pieces and add to the tomato mixture.
  6. To the tomato mixture, add the salt, piloncillo, and chocolate. Add 2 cups beef broth and stir to combine. Remove the chilis from the soaking liquid. Scoop half of the chilis into a blender jar, pour in 1 cup of beef broth and blend to a smooth purée. Press through china cap into a bowl; discard the bits of skin and seeds that don’t pass through the strainer. Repeat with the remaining chilis.
  7. Return the sauce pot to medium heat with a little more rendered beef fat. When hot, pour in the chili purée—it should sizzle sharply and, if the pan is sufficiently hot, the mixture should never stop boiling. Stir every couple of minutes until the chili purée has darkened and reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, about a half hour.
  8. In two batches, blend the tomato mixture in blender as smoothly as possible (you may need an extra 1/2 cup beef stock to keep everything moving through the blades), then strain through a china cap into the large bowl that contained the chilis. When the chili paste has reduced, add the tomato mixture to the pot and cook, stirring every few minutes until considerably darker and thicker, 15 to 20 minutes.
  9. Add the remaining broth to the pot and briskly simmer the mixture over medium to medium-low heat for about 20 minutes. Remove and cool the mole. Separate the cooled mole into 3 each gallon sous vide pouches and vacuum seal at 97.5%. Cook mole in a water bath for 12 hours. Strain through a chinois, serve immediately, or cool rapidly and hold.

For the Fondant Potato:

  1. Peel the potatoes and reserve the peelings. Cut the ends off the potatoes and slice potatoes in 2-inch-thick slices. Using a 2-inch-diameter ring mold, cut the potato slices into rounds. Reserve the potato pieces in water for use in another application.
  2. In a 400°F (204.5°C) oven, roast the potato peelings in a half sheet pan for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through to dry thoroughly. Remove from oven and blowtorch the peelings on the stovetop until completely charred. Collect the ash and reserve.
  3. Set water bath to 190°F (88°C). Place potato rounds in sous vide pouch with chicken stock, half the butter and sea salt. Vacuum seal at 97.5% and cook in water bath for 1 hour. Remove potato rounds from sous vide pouch and dry them on one side with paper towels.
  4. In a cast iron skillet or large sauté pan, add the remaining butter and oregano sprigs. Sear fondant potatoes on the dry side for 10 minutes or until a golden crust has formed, basting with the aromatized butter throughout the cooking time.

To Serve:

  1. While the potatoes are cooking, remove short ribs from their pouches and pat dry. Grill short ribs over hardwood coals for 2-3 minutes on each side to char.
  2. Remove the purslane leaves from their stems. In a small bowl, toss them with the walnut oil and season with salt and pepper. Serve the short ribs with mole and fondant potato. Garnish the mole with toasted sesame seeds and garnish the plate with the seasoned purslane and the potato ash.

Buy the Magazine

Buy Now

Dedicated to the Art & Science of Sous Vide

The first publication devoted to the art and science of sous vide cooking, featuring innovative recipes, visual inspiration, expert techniques for cooking sous vide at home, and exclusive interviews with world-class chefs.