Tag Archives: baby-back ribs

Really Great Smokey Baby-Back Ribs (serves 6-8)

This past weekend was a hectic one to say the least and I had to be smart about what to cook. The best kinds of dishes to cook when you have guests and are on the go are ones that demand little time to prepare, slow cooking and are hearty enough to keep everyone happy for hours.

This dish most certainly fit all the criteria and was more delicious than I could have imagined.

This Weekend: Really Great Smokey Baby-Back Ribs

This Weekend: Really Great Smokey Baby-Back Ribs

I implore you to add this to your list of ways to cook my favorite kind of pig: Baby-Back ribs!

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You will need:

4 tbs olive oil

2 racks baby-back ribs, cut into 2 to 3 rib pieces, seasoned lightly with sea-salt and black pepper.

1 large (not huge) Vidalia onion

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup roughly chopped flat-leafed parsley leaves

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped (click here if you don’t know what this is)

1 tbs adobo sauce (use 2 tbs if you want more smokey heat)

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I used San Marzano tomatoes)

1 tsp sea-salt (if using a fine-grained salt, start of with a 1/2 tsp)

Freshly ground black pepper

4 cups chicken broth OR 1 good quality bouillon cube (Rapunzel) and 4 cups of water)

Equipment: you will need a very large casserole with lid for this dish.

* I served this with basmati rice but you can serve with a pasta, like spaghetti*

Method:

Preheat oven 400*

1 – Sear the prepared ribs (see ingredients list instructions) in batches on high heat in large saute pan until browned on both sides. You will need to add more oil as you go. Transfer to a big casserole (with lid) that can be put into the oven.

sear ribs

sear ribs

2 – turn heat down to medium and add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes before adding the chopped chipotle peppers, adobo sauce and parsley.

saute onions, add seasonings

saute onions, add seasonings

3 – Add the tomato puree, broth (or water and bouillon cube) and salt and bring mixture to a boil.

add liquids

Add liquids

4 – Pour this mixture into the casserole over the ribs and place in the oven for 1  1/4 hours. Remove from oven and check meat by piercing with a sharp knife. If it is very tender you can remove it from the oven. Let it sit covered for about 10 minutes before serving. Taste the sauce for additional seasoning. Also, if the sauce is very thick you can add a little more water to thin it out to your liking.

assemble dish and cook

Assemble dish and cook

Serve each person 2 or 3 rib sections with whatever you like, (suggestions below). You can also have some cayenne pepper flakes on the table for those of you who like more heat. A sprinkle of some flat-leafed parsley would not go astray either!

Serve alone or with rice, pasta or bread

Serve alone or with rice, pasta or bread

The meat can also be removed from the ribs and returned to the sauce which makes it easier to eat, especially if you serve it with a long pasta like spaghetti or tagliatelle.

Paprika-Laced Baby-Back Ribs (serves 6)

I love when dinner is so much better than expected. This was the case last night; absolutely yummy dinner!

I had baby-back ribs in the fridge for the past few days, and was not really up to figuring out what to do with them. I bought them because I had made a dish over the holidays that was amazing, and I was dying to recreate that tender-tasting meat, only using different flavors.

Succulent baby-back ribs for dinner

Last night I was compelled to taking on the task as I had nothing else left to cook. I wanted to cook them with as little interference from me as possible, and so, the oven was a good option. 

It was bitterly cold last night so I wanted the flavors to be warm and hearty. I decided to make smokey paprika the star of the dish, and rounded it out with lovely sweet carrots and fresh rosemary,  adding a kick of heat with a little hot paprika.

The meat was tender, the broth had a smokey, sweet heat, and best of all, a good friend showed up and turned the evening into a delicious party!

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You will need: 5 lbs baby-back pork ribs, cut into 1 and 2 rib pieces, 2 large carrots, thickly sliced, 1 large sweet onion, large dice, 2 sprigs rosemary, 1 cup Italian parsley, roughly chopped, 1 tbs smoked paprika, 1 1/2 tsp hot paprika, 1 cup prosecco or white wine (on the sweet side, if you have it), 2 1/2 cups water, 1 veggie or chicken bouillon cube, 6 medium yellow or red potatoes, OR, sweet potatoes, left whole, (optional), 6 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, sea-salt and black pepper to taste.

Preheat oven 400*

sear ribs in hot pan

1 – Put large saute pan on high/medium heat, and add about 3 tbs of oil. When it is hot, add 1 layer of ribs to the pan and sear until browned on both sides. Transfer to big casserole dish or dutch oven as you go. Keep adding oil and searing until the job is done.

cook onions & carrots, then add spices

2 – Turn down heat to low and add the onions and carrots. Cook for about 8 minutes. Add the paprika and the crumbled bouillon cube. Stir until fully incorporated.

add wine and bring to a boil

3 – Add prosecco (or wine) and turn heat to high. Let the mixture bubble for a minute.

add water and parsley

4 –  Add the 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Add the parsley and turn off heat. Transfer the vegetables and broth over top of the ribs. Lay potatoes on top of everything (if using). The potatoes will cook by steaming.

Add liquid to ribs and top with potatoes (if using)

5 – Place tight-fitting lid on top (or 2 layers of tin foil) and put in oven for 1 hour 20 minutes. Let the whole thing rest on stove-top for about 10 minutes before removing lid. Taste broth for addition of salt and pepper, and add accordingly. (I let everyone add their own seasonings when they were served).

Turn into a big serving bowl and let everyone help themselves.

Serve alone, with potatoes, or a handful of greens.

I had my ribs with a lovely bunch of mixed greens

Baby Back Ribs Cooked in Sparkling Apple Cider & Herbs For Tom’s Christmas Party (serves 8 as Main Course, 12 as Part of Larger Meal)

 So much of this festive season was spent planning food, cooking, eating, and visiting friends and family. This particular evening was devised by Tom who asked if I would help by making a main course and a giant salad. I asked how many people I should keep in mind, and he said he expected around 12. I was very excited about having this get-together as some of my dearest friends would be travelling a long distance to spend christmas with us, and they were going to get to join us at Tom’s.

This is what I made for Tom’s Christmas Party

I hummed and hawed about what to make. I wanted to cook a giant portion of something, but didn’t want it to be fussy and hard to reheat when we got there. I had lots of ingredients to choose from as I had just stocked my kitchen to the gills with every sort of food imaginable in anticipation of Christmas gluttony! I settled on 5 lbs of baby-back ribs. 

Evidence of Santa’s existence

I wanted to cook them in wine and herbs, but found I had neglected to buy any white wine (prefer red). I panicked a little, but, upon seeing the 1/2 bottle of the kids sparkling apple cider changed my plan. Apples and pork are traditionally a fantastic combination, so, this would do the trick. That, along with the delectable white sweet potatoes I had bought to roast for christmas dinner (oh well) would complete my vision of braised tender pork in sweet syrup-y broth.

Everyone got a Christmas cracker

I was surprised at how this simple dish came together. It was wonderful on every level; tender meat, herb-infused flavor, mouth-watering potatoes, and delicately sweet broth. 

I was also surprised to find not 12 people, but around 18 when we arrived. Tom apparently had  gotten deep into the christmas spirit and invited a crowd, and cooked food to match!

Snowball bowl of eggnog!

It was the funnest party I had been to in ages. My friends had arrived exhausted from their drive a little earlier, and I whooshed them up to the shower, and off we went. They were revived body and soul, and I was so happy to have been able to start off their visit with something spectacular. 

I ate all sorts of wonderful food, but the oddest thing I tried was eggnog. I have lived in this country for more years than I care to admit, but have never tried this American Christmas elixir before. Being that it was served from a bowl that looked a snowball, with cups to match, I couldn’t resist.

It was creamy, with overtones of nutmeg, and a strong blast of whiskey on the backend; wow! I drank 2 cups very happily after dinner, and was warned to stop if I didn’t want to feel it in the morning.

The morning did start out a little hazy, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

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You will need: 5 lbs baby back ribs, cut into 1 or 2 rib pieces, 4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 2 or 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, 5 sprigs fresh thyme, 4 white sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large slices, (orange sweet potatoes would work also),  4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, 1 large sweet onion, diced, 1 1/2 cup sparkling apple cider, 1 vegetable stock cube, (I use Rapunzel brand), 2 1/2 cups water (or, 2 1/2 cups chicken broth), 1 tsp sea-salt, freshly cracked black pepper. *you will also need a very big casserole pot*

Preheat oven 375*

1 – Put big saute pan on high heat and add some of the oil. Sear the ribs in batches until they have browned (part of the ribs will not make contact with the pan, but don’t worry, just brown what you can). Transfer to the big casserole as you go (you will also need to add oil as needed).

sear ribs

2 – Turn pan down to medium/low and add onions and garlic. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently.

saute onions and garlic

3 – Add the herbs and sliced potatoes and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the apple cider and stock (or water & bouillon cube) and turn up heat. Bring liquid to a boil and scrape as much of the brown bits stuck to the pan into the liquid as possible. . Turn off heat.

add potatoes and liquid

4 – Carefully pour the vegetable and broth mixture over the ribs and cover with lid. Place in oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. *This can also be made ahead and reheated gently on stove-top*

cook in oven and you get this!

This can be served as is, or with a green salad (as below). either way, this dish is absolutely fabulous.

I had my ribs with a fresh salad

Along with what I brought, Tom also serves the following mouth-watering dishes:

Paella

Salt-crusted Wild Norwegian Salmon

Fresh pistachios brought directly from Turkey by a visiting friend

Cake by Tina & Bridget

festive ribbons of hard sugar sweets

Sweet  flaky pastry made by Tom (I had to top it off with some sugary candy pieces)

In the thick of the party

Baby-Back Ribs in Rich Red Sauce (serves 4-6)

My sister called to chat and after a bit she asked what I was cooking tonight. I said I didn’t know but that I was staring at about 5 lbs of baby-back pork ribs? At this point I told her that some days I have very definite ideas of what I feel like making and other days (like yesterday) I literally just grab ingredients and the dish sort of evolves as I cook.

Baby-Back Ribs in Rich Red Sauce - unctuous!

At the moment she asked I decided that while on the phone I would walk around my kitchen (which took about 3 seconds!) and gather the things I would use.

I assembled shallots, garlic, a big can of plum tomatoes and grabbed the only fresh herb in the fridge, a sprig of rosemary – that was it. I was also having a glass of red wine so the bottle was sitting there too.

“OK,” June said, “what are you going to do?” In that moment I decided that I would take a very hands-off, lazy approach to dinner….”simmer the ribs in tomatoes and wine!” That is what I did and I was very happy with the outcome.

The sauce turned into a rich pungent liquid and the meat was tender and falling off the bone. This will definitely be made again, (when June comes to visit!)

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You will need: 5 lbs baby-back pork ribs, cut into 2 or 3 ribs sections, 4 big shallots, roughly diced, 5 cloves garlic, sliced, 28oz tin Plum tomatoes with their juices, roughly chopped (I used San Marzano tomatoes), 1 cup red wine, 1/2 cup chicken broth, 1/2 cup water, 1 sprig of rosemary, left whole, 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbs unsalted butter, coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning.

Sear meat in batches..

Preheat oven 375*

1 – Put big saute pan on high heat and add the oil. Season the meat with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and sear until brown in batches. Transfer to plate or big casserole dish (If your saute pan is big enough to hold the complete dish use it ).

Saute shallots and garlic..

2 – When meat is browned  turn heat down to low/medium and saute garlic and shallots for 4 minutes.

3 – Add wine and bring to a slight bubble. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes before adding the stock,  tomatoes and rosemary sprig.

4 – Return the meat to the pot (or pour the contents of the pan into a casserole pot or dutch oven with the meat). Give everything a stir and arrange the meat in even layers. Cover and place in oven for 1 hour 15 minutes. (If serving with rice or pasta, time it so as it is cooked when the ribs are ready)

1 hour 15 minutes later..

When cooked, remove and let sit for 10 minutes before serving with rice, pasta, or a good quality bread (for sopping up the great sauce!).