Do you have cookbooks that you only use one recipe from? The Accidental Locavore has almost all of Rick Bayless’ books, and while I use Mexican Everyday for a lot of stuff, I usually pull out Mexican Kitchen for the spare rib recipe. Give yourself a day for this – the ribs are better marinated overnight. Serves 4-6.
- 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 3 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 6 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
- ¾ teaspoon dried (Mexican) oregano
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Pinch of ground cloves
- Pinch of ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- ½ cup beef broth (or water)
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 pounds pork country-style spare ribs
- 1 ½ tablespoons honey
- Coarsely chopped cilantro for garnish
- White onion sliced into thin rings for garnish
For the marinade:
In a small frying pan over medium heat, put the unpeeled garlic and roast, turning occasionally until black in spots and soft, about 15 minutes. When it’s cooled, peel it. Toast the chiles in the same pan, a few at a time, flattening them with a spatula for a few seconds. Flip and toast the other side. This is really just a quick toast, don’t let them burn. Put them in a small bowl and cover with very hot water. Soak for 30 minutes to re-hydrate. Drain the chiles.
Place the chiles, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, pepper, cloves, cumin, vinegar and broth in the work bowl of a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Divide it into two parts and set ½ aside.
Put the ribs in a large Ziploc bag and smear half of the marinade over the ribs. Seal and refrigerate overnight.
Add the honey to the other half of the marinade, mix well, cover and refrigerate.
Cooking the ribs:
Preheat the oven to 325°. Put the ribs and the marinade in a baking dish big enough to hold them in one layer. Drizzle ¼ cup of water (or beef broth) around them, cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove the foil and baste the ribs with the liquid in the pan. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for another 15 minutes. Carefully pour off the fat and any juices in the pan.
Raise the oven temperature to 350°. Brush the ribs with the remaining marinade (the half with the honey). Bake another 15 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and onion, serve and enjoy!
My verdict: Made these recently for guests and gave everyone two big ribs each, it wasn’t enough! Luckily, everyone was too polite say anything. I had no idea what most of the dried chiles I had were, so decided to just use 3 each of three different kinds. It worked out well, but I did puree them a few at a time and tasted, just to make sure the marinade didn’t get too spicy for company. If it does, the sugar and honey will tone down the spice to a certain degree. I served them with some mashed potatoes, spinach and a Caesar salad.