Saturday, October 27, 2007

Recipe of the week from Entertaining: Orange spare ribs

I had some ribs in my freezer and this looked like an interesting way to cook them, so I chose this as the recipe of the week.

1,5 kg (3 lbs) pork spare ribs

2 tbs clear honey
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
2 oranges
Salt and pepper

Cut the spare ribs into serving pieces (single ribs). Put honey, lemon juice, Worchestershire sauce and soy sauce in a small saucepan and add the grated zest of one orange and the juice from both oranges. Add salt and pepper to taste and heat gently, stirring occasionally. Leave to cool, then pour over the meat. Leave to marinate overnight.

Drain, reserving the marinade.

Place the ribs in a roasting pan and cook in a preheated oven at 180°C (350°F), for 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, fire up the grill. Grill the ribs, turning and basting frequently with the marinate, until crisp (about 15 minutes).

Makes 8 servings.

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I marinated some ribs, just enough to feed one hungry person, using a full recipe of marinade. The marinade was thin and had a mild orange flavour. I marinated the ribs for about 20 hours, turning them a couple of times. Since the weather wasn’t suitable for grilling outdoors, I used the grill in the oven instead. I don’t know if the author used smaller ribs, or merely better trimmed ones, but it took 35 minutes to get the rib pieces cooked through, at about the same distance from the grill as they were supposed to be from the coals in the recipe.

The meat was juicy and pulled easily off the bones, but was not as melt-in-the-mouth soft as I like rib meat to be. I think maybe cooking the ribs in the marinate for 10-20 minutes before grilling would make the meat softer. The flavour of the meat had a mild flavour of oranges, and the edges of the pieces and the membranes were well braised and crisp and there was some caramelisation. It was a nice flavour but nothing special. Another time, I would like to use a thick basting sauce, one that would coat the meat better and create a more all-over caramelisation, and I would like a more intense orange flavour and slightly more sweetness. Perhaps I could use orange marmalade instead of juice?

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