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Today I have a series of photos for you in the style of Betty Crocker, circa 1965 (at least I think that’s what they look like. Sunsets at 4:30 kind of interfere with natural light). The recipe isn’t circa 1965, though. With its chipotle barbecue sauce, it’s more of a 2003 kind of thing.
I decided today that Carlo should come home from work to a nice meal today, the kind of meal that he loves. Luckily its a new job and he’s on good behavior and won’t be online, so I can tell you without ruining the treat for him.This is a recipe we’ve had before, an introduction from our best food friends who made it for us back when we lived in Montreal (hi B + G!).
While I love pork and I love ribs, this is definitely a Carlo recipe. The ribs, first marinated in a dry rub, cook slowly at low heat until they’re tender, glistening in fat, and then they’re wrapped in a tomato-chipotle dress and put back into the oven until the sauce has sunk in. I like fat as much as anyone, but not as much as Carlo. It’s impossible to love it as much as Carlo does.
I’m roasting a couple sweet potatoes and some brussels sprouts to go on the side, and I think those two will help me feel that this meal is virtuous.
Carlo’s going to sit down to this meal and when he takes a bite, his forehead will furrow at a small point between his eyebrows, and his eyes will almost-but-not-quite close, and he’ll be very quiet for a second, and then his face will clear and he’ll look up from his ribs and say “wow.” And that will be the sign that I look for, that combination of actions meaning that he’s happy and completely content. And that’s why I’m making ribs.
Baked Pork Ribs with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
Adapted from Bonnie Stern
4 strips of back ribs (I used about 2 lbs, but more would be better), shiny membrane on backside removed
2 Tbsp. smoked paprika (regular is fine too, but smoked adds some heat and interest)
2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dry mustard
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
2-3 chipotle peppers
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
Combine spice rub ingredients in a small bowl and rub them into ribs. Put the ribs into a shallow dish, cover, and set aside to marinate at room temperature for an hour.
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet/pan with foil. Place marinated ribs in a single layer on pan, cover with more foil, and cook for 1 1/2 hours.
While ribs are cooking, assemble your barbecue sauce by placing all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pureeing.
When 1 1/2 hours is up, remove ribs from oven, pour off the fat that has collected at the bottom of the pan, and then pour barbecue sauce over them, turning them over in the baking pan to ensure that they’re well-coated. Be generous with your sauce! Turn up the heat to 400 F and put ribs back in oven, uncovered, cooking for another 1/2 hour.
This is a Rick Bayless recipe from our dog eared copy of Mexican Everyday. The page in question is being held together by green painter’s tape, which is a good indication of how often Hanne and I have used the Chipotle Shrimp recipe. This dish comes together quick, making it a great weeknight meal. Bayless recommends fire-roasted tomatoes. Take his advice if you can track them down. Or better yet, roast your own!
Using two chipotles in this recipe makes for a strong steady burn. Three and you’ll be smacking your lips happily (I’m a sucker/masochist for spice) or manically searching for that ill-advised glass of water (doesn’t work. Soothe your sad gummy tongue on a gob of yogurt, wimp). Don’t even think about using one chipotle.
This dish is also a great reheater. Double up the recipe and you have leftovers for lunch. It’s not a fishy dish, so it won’t stink bomb your work’s microwave. Not that you should really care.
1 cup of rice, 2 cups of water
1 drained 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
2 canned chipotle chiles (or 3, tough guy)
1 tablespoon chipotle sauce (from the can)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Approx. 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Approx. 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1 pound (or so) of shrimp, peeled and deveined (leave the tails on to make this a quick recipe)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro for garnish
Step 1) Get your rice steaming. Your sauce will be ready by the time it’s done.
2) Blend tomatoes, chipotle chiles and sauce until smooth.
3) Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook until golden.
4) Pour in tomato mixture. Be sure the pan isn’t too hot or your white shirt is screwed. Cook for 5 minutes.
5) Add broth, making sure to keep the sauce saucey, not soupy. Salt it.
6) Add the shrimp. When they pink and curl they’re done (about 4 minutes). If your sauce is too thick, add a bit more broth or water, if you used up the broth in step 4. If it gets soupy on you (not sure how, but this happened to me. The frozen shrimp probably released moisture), then remove the shrimp and cook the sauce down.
7) Serve garnished generously with cilantro. I recommend serving this dish on a bed of long grain white rice.
Rick Bayless, the lovable Yogi, is not Mexican. But he’s one of America’s top Mexican chefs and cookbook writers. We visited his restaurant in Chicago a couple years ago. It was really good, but honestly? We’ve gotten better results at home using his recipes. This is either a testament to Bayless as a great cookbook writer or having gone soft like a week old plantain on his kitchen staff. Probably an effective chef should let Yoga be.
Seriously though, if you love Mexican food and need quick recipes for weeknight meals, get this book. Equally seriously, skip the page picturing Bayless on his head, doing Yoga. And uh, don’t eat refried beans before your Yoga class.