So there we were the other day, pondering on life and my favourite subject, the consumption of food, in other words we were arguing over what to have for dinner. Mark was playing his ace card and mentioned that he was about to have an operation on his jaw and would not be able to eat anything except liquids for the next four weeks. I must say it really can put a kink in your counter argument when faced with that, so I relented after all I can have my beef chow mien (my preferred option) another day. Surprise, surprise Mark relented as well, principally because he didn’t really want to drive out in the cold and rain to the butcher to buy the big fat steak he was demanding. Back to square one it would seem. What we did discover rooting around the cupboards and fridge was we had a pack of 4 whole ribs; I think we have a winner!
Mark kicked me out the kitchen to go play on the computer; I feigned upset as I wanted to help, not. Escape time, so I was off. Half an hour later, I was given an update.
Take the following:
2 large onions and peel them and chop very roughly, we want a mixture of small and large chunks, through them into a large roasting pan.
Couple of carrots, clean them up and remove any eyes, again rough chop and into the roasting pan.
A head of celery, cleaned up and rough chopped and again, into the roasting pan.
Finally A leek, trimmed and rough chopped also goes into the roasting pan.
Spread everything out in the roasting pan to make it reasonably level, now lay your ribs on top spacing them out as much as possible to reduce overlap.
Brush the ribs with some olive oil and sprinkle some salt over them. Now half fill the roasting pan with a stock of your choice. Mark just used a 1L carton of chicken stock with a heaped teaspoon of Bovril dissolved into it. I also suspect he flung about a third of a bottle of red wine in as well, it wasn’t declared as an ingredient but I couldn’t find the wine bottle later when looking for it so you do the maths.
Finally cover your roasting pan with tin foil and tightly seal it, pop it into the oven and turn the heat up to 160C and walk away for 5-6 hours and go get on with your life, for Mark it meant he could go back to saving the universe on his PS3.
4-5 hours later with the universe safe again for a moment, the roasting pan was removed from the oven and still covered left to cool for an hour or so.
Now to make a mop sauce to slaver all over the ribs. We have grown to love a sauce that we make based on the “She Devil Barbecue Sauce” from the Classic Barbecue and Grill Cookbook” by Marlena Spieler ISBN: 0-7513-0569-3. I must confess though that for me it does taste horrible on its own, but and it is a big but, when put onto some meat a magical transformation takes place and OMG it tastes divine, to the point it becomes very hard to stop having just one more bite.
So you are going to need a fairly long list of ingredients, as follows:
- 1 onion, diced
- 6 gloves of garlic, chopped
- 4tbsp of Worcester sauce
- 300ml Ketchup
- 1tbsp of tomato paste
- 4tbsp of molasses
- Dash of Maple syrup
- 4 Chillies chopped, or a tbsp of chilli flakes
- 1 Bottle of dark beer
- ½ pint of stock
- 1tsp of Bovril
- 1tsp of English mustard powder
- 1 heaped tsp of whole grain mustard
- 1tsp ground Cumin
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 4tbsp of cider vinegar
Now for the hard part, put everything in a saucepan, turn on the heat to medium and walk away for an hour. Stir occasionally to ensure it isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan, and regulate the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. The sauce will cook down and get thicker as time passes. Mark says you cannot over cook it, but the longer you cook it the stronger the taste. After an hour or so, set up your hand blender or liquidiser and puree the sauce till it is glossy and smooth.
And now, at last, after what seems days, we can start to finish our dish.
Turn on the grill to medium – high. Take your cold ribs and lay them out on a baking tray or a grill pan, meat side up. As a warning this will not be an easy job, because we cooked them low and slow, they will want to fall apart, so handle with care, or use tongs.
Strain the juices from the bottom of the roasting pan and add them to your pureed sauce, boil the sauce rapidly now to reduce it quickly whilst the ribs finish. Stir regularly.
With a brush thickly apply a layer of the sauce to all parts of your ribs and pop them under the grill. After 15 minutes pull them out and turn them over, reapply sauce at this time. After another 15 minutes apply sauce and turn them for the final time so the meaty side is back on top. Lightly sprinkle some cane sugar over the top. Pop back under the grill for 10 minutes or so. By now the ribs should be hot all the way through and the sugars and the sauce will have caramelised forming a crisp outer skin that is both sweet and spicy. However when you bite into them the meat should be fall apart tender and very juicy due to the slow cooking, heavenly.
Mark served them with a mixed salad and dressing and some of his super crunchy chips and a gravy dish of the sauce for top ups as required. Though I think they would also go with a nice rice dish, or a jacket potato, just add whatever you fancy, personally I could just eat them on their own, they don’t need anything else but then again I am a serious carnivore 🙂