Spicy!

I didn’t do a very good job of spring cleaning my recipe files during spring break. I doesn’t help that when cooking a normal-size recipe for two people, there are often lotsa leftovers. That’s great for saving time, not so great for trying out a lot of recipes in a short time span. Ah, well. C’est la vie!

One winner that made it to our table last week was Pork Ribs with Garlic, Chilies and Tomato, along with it’s companion recipe of Chickpea, Carrot and Olive Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette. I’m not 100% sure of the provenance of these recipes, since the torn-out page doesn’t say, but I think they came from O Magazine. Both of these recipes were good enough to warrant a repeat visit to my kitchen. And good enough to warrant sharing with you!

Pork Ribs with Garlic, Chilies and Tomato
Serves 8 as a main course

Ingredients
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 pounds country-style pork ribs, cut from rib end
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
8 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 (24-ounce) jars or cans Italian tomato puree (crushed tomatoes will also work, but do not used diced tomatoes, which are too chunky, or tomato sauce, which is too watery)
1/2 cup pickled chilies, such as cherry peppers
Basil leaves for garnish (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add oil, and heat for 1 minute. Meanwhile, season ribs with salt and pepper. Add ribs, working in batches (don’t crowd, or you’ll end up steaming them!), and brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic to the last batch and brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove ribs and garlic; set aside while you drain excess fat from the Dutch oven, then return them to the pot. Add the tomato puree, season with salt and pepper to taste, then add enough water to just cover the ribs.
  2. Cover pot and put it in the oven. Braise (cook) until meat is tender, about 2.5 hours. Add chilies and cook for 20 minutes more.
  3. Transfer the ribs to a platter and ladle the sauce and chilies over them. Garnish with basil and serve!



Chickpea, Carrot and Olive Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette
Serves 4 to 6, with extra vinaigrette

Ingredients
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
2 cups julienned carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
3/4 cup pitted black olives, halved
1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
1/2 cup cilantro leaves

  1. To make vinaigrette: Place cumin in a small bowl. Add vinegar and then oil in a slow stream, whisking until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. To make salad: Combine rest of ingredients in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup vinaigrette and mix well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

The rib recipe was insanely easy. I loved that once you stuck it in the oven, you did not have to do a thing except open the pot once to add the chilies. We bought our chilies from the bulk olive bar at Whole Foods, and they were a touch hot. I halved the recipe, but added the full amount of chilies, so sticking to the proportions as written would be about right.

The salad recipe was fantastic, and I would gladly make it again on its own. I enjoyed the leftovers the next two days, and thought it held up quite well. I used Kalamata olives instead of plain black olives, because that’s what I had on hand, and they tasted great. If you don’t have sherry vinegar on hand (I did), you might be able to substitute apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar. Vinegars have a long shelf life, though, so I personally think it’s worth having Sherry vinegar on hand. Think the raisins seem weird in this recipe? I thought they were really delicious.