CP Nosh: Coriander Ribs with Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

Welcome to CP Nosh – a delicious recipe inspired by this weeks show!

This week guest Jonathan Shipley took us to Portage Bay Café. Known for their seasonal menu and dedication to local food, Portage Bay has long been a Seattle favorite. Inspired by their focus on sustainable cuisine, I am sharing one of my favorite seasonal recipes for April – Coriander Ribs with Rhubarb Sauce.

Rhubarb is one of the first crops up in Spring and it’s just started showing up in Seattle markets. Get a few stalks and try my recipe for oven-roasted pork ribs, which are succulent and flavorful. This recipe is from my eBook Fresh Pantry-Rhubarb – ENJOY!

By Amy Pennington

Excerpted from Fresh Pantry: Rhubarb – Cook Seasonally, Eat Smart & Learn to Love Your Rhubarb, Skipstone Books 2013

Coriander Ribs with Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

This recipe has become a household favorite. Regionally, the ratio of tart to sweet varies greatly in traditional BBQ sauce, but I prefer a less sweet version. Here, rhubarb takes the place of vinegar in the sauce, enhancing the tart-sweet balance. The sauce can be used as a side once the ribs are cooked and served, allowing an extra little something for dipping. The pork ribs are first dry-rubbed and then slow roasted in a low oven, which makes for succulent, fall-off-the-bone meat. In the final minutes of cooking, the ribs are doused with a rhubarb sauce (made from burned sugar and rhubarb mash) and allowed to caramelize slightly before serving. Although the recipe uses an oven, you can just as easily grill these ribs, when the weather permits.

Serves 4

Coriander ribs
• 3 to 4 pounds pork ribs, racked or precut
• 1 tablespoon ground cumin
• 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon ground fennel
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Rhubarb BBQ sauce
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 cup warm water
• 1 pound rhubarb (about 3 to 4 stalks), trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

Place the ribs in a large baking pan. Sprinkle the cumin, coriander seeds, cinnamon, fennel, salt, and pepper over the ribs. Using your hands, toss to coat, working the spices evenly across each rib until most of the spices are absorbed. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place the ribs in the oven and roast for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until meat is tender and comes away easily from the bone.

While the ribs are roasting, make the sauce. In a small saucepan, pour in the sugar and shake gently, so it forms an even layer along the bottom of the pan. Set this over medium-high heat, the sugar will start melting after a few minutes. Do not stir the sugar, but monitor it closely. It will begin to brown at the edges. Swirl the pan slightly to distribute the heat and hot caramel, making sure to keep the sugar level so it does not coat the sides of the saucepan. The caramel will turn dark brown and amber at the edges. Continue swirling gently until all of the sugar is dark amber, about 5 to 7 minutes, and smells of burned sugar. Pour in the warm water and stir. Be careful: the caramelized sugar will sputter and pop. Cook until the caramelized sugar has dissolved.

Add the rhubarb and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and allow the rhubarb to simmer 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool slightly, about 20 minutes. Once cooled, add the rhubarb sauce to a blender and puree until perfectly smooth. Pour the rhubarb sauce into a small bowl and set aside.

When the ribs are cooked through, remove them from the oven and set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Brush the ribs with half of the rhubarb sauce. Return to the oven and let the sauce caramelize and bubble, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the ribs from the oven and let cool slightly. Serve the ribs alongside a small bowl of the remaining rhubarb sauce.

PANTRY NOTE: Any leftover sauce or ribs (although I doubt you’ll have any) can be covered and held in the fridge, up to 3 days. The rhubarb sauce recipe can be doubled and the ribs basted twice for extra-rich flavor, if you like.

Amy Pennington is the host of Check, Please! Northwest and a well-known ingredient in Seattle’s food and restaurant scene. She’s also the author of Urban Pantry, Apartment Gardening and Apples: From Harvest to Table, and the e-book series Fresh Pantry. Read more of Amy’s work at amy-pennington.com and connect on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

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