“Ribs, like many of the cheaper, tougher cuts of meat, require some work to bring out the best in them, but the results are always rewarding and, as in this recipe, often stunning,” explains chef and cookbook author, Ben Tish.
“Andalucíans love ribs. Lamb ribs are popular too and would have been the obvious choice for the Moors, who would have cooked them over a charcoal fire until crisp and charred.
“The ribs in this recipe are delicious! The quince glaze is one of the best that I’ve ever used for ribs. It has a perfectly balanced sweet and sour flavour while the cooking liquor retains all the natural flavour and body from the bones, and can be used as a base for soups or as a delicious broth for cooking pulses.
“This is one of my favourite summer dishes for when I’m cooking over fire. The ribs are equally as good straight from a hot griddle. Serve with some chips cooked in olive oil.”
- 1.2kg pork ribs (ideally cut from the belly of a well-reared heritage pig)
- 150g sea salt
- 1/2 bulb of garlic, separated into cloves
- A few sprigs of thyme
- 4 bay leaves
- 3 star anise
- 2 cloves
- 170g membrillo (quince paste)
- 25g coriander seeds
- 10g hot smoked paprika
- 50g flaked almonds, lightly toasted
- A small handful of coriander, leaves picked
1. Rinse the ribs under cold running water, then cut into three to four rib pieces. Place on a tray and sprinkle with the sea. Ensure the ribs are completely covered. Leave in the fridge for one hour.
2. Remove the ribs from the tray and rinse under cold running water to remove the salt.
3. Preheat the oven to 120°C/100°C fan/Gas Mark 1/2. Lay the ribs in a deep ovenproof tray or tin and pour over cold water to cover. Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaves, star anise and cloves. Cover with foil. Place the tray in the oven and cook for two to two-and-a-half hours, or until the rib meat is very tender but not falling from the bone. The low temperature should be monitored to ensure the ribs do not cook too quickly – check two or three times during cooking and skim off any scum that has risen to the surface.
4. Meanwhile, put the quince paste, coriander seeds, smoked paprika and 100ml of water in a saucepan and melt slowly over a low heat to make a thick glaze. Set aside.
5. When the ribs are cooked, remove them from the oven and leave to cool down in the cooking liquor. Once cool, drain the ribs well (reserve the cooking liquor for another use, such as in a sauce or soup) and place them on a tray. Pour over most of the quince glaze (reserve some for basting later) and toss through the ribs to coat them.
6. When you are ready to serve, you can either finish the ribs on the barbecue, over hot coals, or on a hot ridged grill pan. Barbecue or grill the ribs for three to four minutes on each side or until they are evenly caramelised and hot. Baste with the remaining quince glaze as you go. Season with sea salt, sprinkle over the toasted flaked almonds and coriander, and serve.
Moorish: Vibrant Recipes From The Mediterranean by Ben Tish, photography by Kris Kirkham, is published by Bloomsbury Absolute, priced £26. Available now.