Saturday, March 04, 2006

Inspiration


After reading the Amateur Gourmet's post on short ribs with pumpkin orzo, I was inspired to make some for myself. I have a copy of Mario Batali's Babbo Cookbook in my collection, and forwarded a link to the post to Neal, suggesting that he pick up some short ribs on his next trip to the grocery store.

Unfortunately, he came home with pork country ribs. Not to worry! I decided to work with them. My standard recipe for country ribs involves homemade barbecue sauce, but I wasn't in the mood for that today. I looked through several cookbooks and was inspired by a recipe for country ribs with mango, lime, and coconut milk from Molly Stevens' The Art of Braising . Only I decided to use blackberries instead of mango, wine instead of coconut milk, and balsamic vinegar in place of the lime juice. Otherwise it was exactly the same. I served the meat with an orzo risotto, or orzotto and edamame tossed with salt and lemon juice (I adore edamame.)

Country Ribs with Blackberry Sauce
1.5 lbs bone-in country style pork ribs, approximately three ribs
olive oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, julienned
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 cup Oregon canned blackberries in syrup
1 cup red wine (I used valpolicella)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 square semisweet baking chocolate
Salt and pepper

Pat the ribs dry and generously salt and pepper on both sides. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven; sear ribs on high heat until nicely browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Remove ribs from pot and add onions and carrots. Turn down heat to medium and sauté vegetables until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic. After about 2 minutes, add the wine and the vinegar. Bring to a boil and cook down until reduced to about half, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen any bits from the meat. Add the berries and their juice and cook an additional 2 minutes. Place the meat back into the pot and turn the heat down to a bare simmer.

Cook for 1 hour - 1 hour 15 minutes until pork is very tender. Remove pork from pot and raise the heat. Reduce the sauce, smashing the berries with a spoon. Taste for salt and pepper. Add the honey and the chocolate, stirring to combine. Add the meat back to the pot and cook an additional 15 minutes.

Serves 2 - 3

Orzotto
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
8 oz orzo pasta
2 cups chicken stock or bouillion
Pinch saffron
2 oz of cheese (I used leftover truffled cheese, but any medium- to soft-textured cheese would probably do nicely)

Melt butter in a sauté pan; add onion and orzo, stirring until the orzo browns, about 5 minutes. Add stock and saffron and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cooked, uncovered, 10 minutes. Cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid is evaporated. Add cheese and stir until melted.

Serves 4-6