We haven't had pork ribs for a long time; we haven't had pork ribs this good for even longer. Succulent, tender to the bone with a rich decadent sweetness to them. More than that, I like this simple recipe from David Lebovitz's My Paris Kitchen. You start with making the caramel sauce in a Dutch oven. Put in the pork ribs. (I did not get 4 pounds of ribs as called for in the recipe. I bought about 3 1/2 pounds, just enough to cover the bottom of a large Dutch oven in a single layer.) The pot then goes in the preheated oven for about two hours. It doesn't get more simple than that.
You can't tell that so little effort is needed to deliver something so spectacular. The change in the aroma in the kitchen certainly had heightened my expectation. From the stringent vinegar aroma in the beginning, to the unmistaken smell of meat roasting in the oven, to the smoky barbecue smell at the finish line, you knew some delicious food will appear on the table. What you might not have expected was how amazingly tender, juicy, and finger-licking good these ribs were.
It's hard to put my fingers on what makes these ribs so delicious. The flavor, the scent, the texture or all of the above?
There were a lot of ingredients that went into the sauce braising the pork ribs: granulated sugar, brown sugar, beer, bourbon, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, minced ginger, soy sauce, Sriracha sauce (or any hot sauce), Dijon mustard and ground black pepper. Every ingredient served as an integral part of the finished sauce, and naturally, the ribs. Making the caramel sauce base was a worthwhile experience. You poured the cold beer into the smoking hot copper-color caramel, followed by the bourbon, vinegar and the rest of the ingredients. The mixture expanded like a rising tide, seized and then hardened. It raised my heart rate just watching this spectacle unfolding before my eyes and almost to my face. Anyhow, I do look forward to doing it again, albeit with greater caution. That was fun!
The ribs went into the Dutch oven, covered and roasted in a 350°F oven for about two hours. In the final 15 minutes (30 minutes would have been too long in my case), the lid was removed to allow the juice to thicken in the pot. The sauce was every bit as delicious as the ribs. I tried to remove the last drop from the pan. I went further and deglazed the gluey sticky goodness that was left at the bottom and around the pot, with some water. Reduced it and strained out the liquid. I even scooped out the remaining scraps inside the strainer, normally headed to the garbage bin. That became the sumptuous ragu which we ate the next day with some soccas (chickpea pancakes). I try not to waste anything realizing that food from waste can be stupendous. In my mind, the closer I can get to attaining zero waste, the better it is for me and the planet! We have a long way to go.
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|You may not need any sauce; but it's delicious too|
|The ribs are served with a watercress salad|