Thursday, December 2, 2010

Iron Foodie 2010 - Sweet and Spicy Spare Ribs

Voting is now open so, please go give these ribs your vote & make us Iron Foodie 2010!

Iron Foodie 2010 | Here's Why that will be me: -- Fine Bulk Foods The Foodie BlogRoll
As you might remember, a few weeks back we were chosen as one of 25 finalist in this year's Iron Foodie. We received a box of 8 mystery ingredients from Marx Foods & were told to create a signature dish using at least 3 of the ingredients in the box. The mystery ingredients were Dried Aji Panca Chilies, Bourbon Vanilla Beans, Fennel Pollen, Dried Porcini Mushrooms, Tellicherry Peppercorns, Dulse Seaweed, Maple Sugar & Smoked Sea Salt. We pondered this diverse assortment of flavors for awhile then Matt said, "Ribs. Asian-style ribs." & we were off. Come on, it makes perfect sense that our signature dish would feature pork.
Sweet & Spicy Spare Ribs
These ribs are first rubbed with a combination of ground aji panca chile, maple sugar & smoked salt then roasted until almost done. Next they are coated with a glaze flavored with more maple sugar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, aji panca chili & surprisingly, vanilla. The glaze bakes on to create a sticky, finger-licking coating with gorgeous color.

Tasty, tasty, tasty, if we do say so ourselves. The aji panca chilies give a mild heat (I was a little worried they'd be too spicy when I tasted the rub) that plays beautifully against the sweet maple sugar & molasses. Maple sugar has this mellow, natural sweetness which works so well with pork & really shines through in this dish. The vanilla gives a subtle, unexpected note to the Asian-inspired glaze. It isn't like you'd instantly say "oh, there is vanilla in this," but more like there is a pleasant vanilla flavor & scent lingering as a background note. Plus, for ribs cooked in the oven for only an hour they were more tender than expected. They almost make me not miss being able to barbecue ribs outside (ok, we could barbecue outside but it's in the teens & we're wimps).

Sweet & Spicy Spare Ribs

1 Dried Aji Panca Chile
4 T Maple Sugar
1 t Smoked Sea Salt
1 3/4 - 2 lbs spare ribs
2 T water
1/2 Bourbon Vanilla Bean
1 1/2 T soy sauce
2 T tomato paste
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t fresh ginger, peeled & minced
1 T rice vinegar
1 T molasses

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Grind the chile, seeds & all, in a coffee or spice grinder until about the texture of freshly ground black pepper. Reserve 1 teaspoon for the glaze. Mix the remaining ground chili with 1 tablespoon of the maple sugar & the smoked salt.
Dry Rub
Remove the skin from the back of the ribs then cut them apart. Rub the ribs all over with the chile mixture.
Spare Ribs with Dry Rub
Put the ribs in the oven & roast for 50 minutes.

Meanwhile make the glaze. Put the remaining 3 tablespoons of maple sugar & water in a small saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half & scrap the seeds into the pan. Add the pod as well. Bring to a boil. Stir while boiling for about a minute until the sauce smells like caramel & is slightly thickened. Remove the vanilla pod. Turn the heat down to medium. Add the soy sauce, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, vinegar, molasses & reserved teaspoon of ground chile. Heat while stirring for a minute or two to blend the flavors. Set aside.

After the ribs have roasted for 50 minutes, brush them with the glaze. Roast another 10 minutes.
Sweet & Spicy Spare Ribs
Makes 2 servings.

For a quick side dish I stir-fried a sliced red pepper & 3 heads of baby bok choy in 2 tablespoon soy sauce & 1 teaspoon maple sugar. It made for a colorful fresh dish with flavors that complimented the entrée perfectly.

Hope you all like our entry & will consider voting for us next week!

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at OR at then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2010 Kathy Lewinski


Peter M said...

If you could see me now...trying to get a taste of these ribs by licking the screen.

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

I am drooling! I just called my husband over to the computer so he could see too. He is the rib man and will be trying these!

Carol in Indian Springs Village said...

Yumm! What kind of spice grinder do you have? I've been wanting to purchase something (we don't drink coffee so it would not be used for beans too).

Jacky Hackett said...

Wow, those look delicious! Great job, good luck in the challenge.

kat said...

Carol - I just use a small coffee grinder. Similar to this one

Liz Darner said...

This sounds (and looks) so fabulous! You've done it again. I can't wait to vote for you!

Brian Samuels Photography said...

Oh my goodness!!! Eric would LOVE these... He likes any meat that he can rip apart with with his teeth :-)

Please let us know when we can vote!

foodqanderings said...

These ribs looks so good!! I could try this rub on beef ones!! Yum!!

Megan said...

Now those look like some terrific ribs! You got my vote! Just let me know when and where. I'll be there.


oh GAWD KATHY!!! why must you do this to me so early in the morning? ok, so maybe NOT so early but lawd have mercy - wasn't thinking about ribs until now! these look fabulous!!!


oh GAWD KATHY!!! why must you do this to me so early in the morning? ok, so maybe NOT so early but lawd have mercy - wasn't thinking about ribs until now! these look fabulous!!!

Unknown said...

OMGosh! These look and sound amazing!!! If only I had a big plate of them right now, I'd be one happy girl. These are some interesting ingredients and it looks like you used them in the best way possible!

Anonymous said...

Wow! That picture makes you want to just climb in and scarf down those ribs! Makes you wish someone had invented smell-o-vision by now! :)

Elle said...

Oh my gosh, they're incredible! Amazing use of the ingredients!

Dawn said...

Sounds totally yummy, thanks for sharing!

Thistlemoon said...

Those ribs do look incredible! Great use of the ingredients! Good luck in the polls!

Anonymous said...

oh snap! you brought the pork! You had me at spare ribs. Me wants this now.

grace said...

delicious creation. all i needed to know was that maple sugar was somehow involved. :)

Alicia Foodycat said...

Magic! I am very keen to make these.

PG said...

Looks like a good use of the ingredients to me! You have my vote.

Jamie said...

Wow! Wow! I could eat an entire plateful of these but I know I'd have to fight my husband for them. Fantastic recipe!

Anonymous said...

Sorry you didn't place - your recipe was my Competitor's Choice since it was the one I most wanted to eat!! Better luck next time ... for me too I hope. ;)

Tammy said...

Looks AMAZING! Thank you for the great pics. I'm hungry now. :)

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