'Cook Fight' vote: Hearty Texas chili or bite-sized ribs?

'Cook Fight' authors Kim Severson and Julia Moskin are very different party hosts. See how each approaches what to serve this holiday season – whether light snacks or whole meals – with savory dishes like chili and spareribs.

Monica's Texas chili
Servings:

Makes 10-12 servings

Ingredients

    • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
    • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 4 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes
    • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
    • 6 garlic cloves, minced
    • 5 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
    • 3 tablespoons masa harina or cornmeal
    • 2 tablespoons pasilla or Chimayo chile powder
    • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
    • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
    • 3 dried New Mexico red chiles
    • One 12-ounce bottle Negro Modelo beer
    • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
    • 4 cups water
  • For serving

    • Tortillas, Fritos or cheese grits
    • Chopped onion
    • Chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a small heavy skillet over low heat until fragrant. Grind them to a powder in a mortar and pestle or a coffee or spice grinder.Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat until shimmering.Working in batches to avoid crowding, brown the meat pieces on two or three sides, until very crusty; adjust the heat as necessary to prevent scorching. As it is cooked, remove the meat to paper towels to drain, and add more oil as needed for browning (do not clean out the pot).To the empty but crusty pot, add the onion, garlic, jalapenos, masa, chili powder, cumin and coriander, and oregano and cook, stirring, until the onion has softened, 5 to 10 minutes.Add the meat, tomatoes, dried chilies, beer, chocolate, and water. Bring to a simmer and simmer until the meat is fork-tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the dried chilies.Serve with tortillas, or on top of bowls of Fritos or grits. Sprinkle with chopped onion and cilantro.

Andrea's perfect ribs
Servings:

Makes about 24 ribs

Ingredients

    • 2 racks small spareribs (about 5 pounds total)
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 2 dried hot chilies, such as arbol
    • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.Rub the ribs with the oil. Grind the chilies and fennel in a clean spice or coffee grinder, until evenly ground and slightly coarse, but not pulverized. Rub all over the ribs, then give the ribs a good seasoning with salt and pepper.Put on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and roast for another 1 hour and 15 minutes or so, until the ribs are golden and tender. Let rest for about 5 minutes.Cut the ribs apart between the bones and arrange on a platter.

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