Saturday, February 1, 2014

Month of-Appetizers: Northern-Style Pork Ribs à la Alli

Busy month! Mission Impastable just came out! I am so excited! I hope you like what I do well enough to get a copy of this mystery with recipes! You can get it here: Don’t you love the cover?

This is the first of my daily posts for you this Month-of-Appetizers. Boy, who knew Super Bowl would be so early this year. You are going to be sorry, because there are some great appetizers coming as the month goes along. Save the links and check back next year, and your Super Bowl party is all planned.

I associate rib and wings with Super Bowl parties, so today is ribs and tomorrow is wings. Go buy your wings today so you can make another great recipe tomorrow before the gang arrives.

But, I digress. Ribs are on the menu today. And the ribs dripping in sauce are so last decade. Plus, who can afford to have the carpets cleaned again after serving them? So today, we are doing Northern-style pork ribs, a two-step cooking process. These ribs rely on a dry rub for flavor after frying.

I gotta admit to Googling P.F. Chang’s ribs for some copycat recipes to combine and come up with this version. LOVE me some Northern-style Ribs from P.F. Chang’s!

2 quarts of water
6 cloves of fresh garlic, sliced
2 whole onions, sliced
4 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
5 dried star anise seeds
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
rack of baby ribs, cut into separate ribs
¼ cup Chinese Five-Spice powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Oil for frying

Stage One:
Fill a large pot with water, garlic, onions, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, peppercorns, sugar, cinnamon, star anise, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer.

Add individual ribs and simmer about 30-40 minutes until the meat on the ends starts to pull away from the bone. DO NOT OVERCOOK.

While ribs are simmering, mix the Five-spice powder with salt and brown sugar. Place on a small flat plate you can use to roll ribs on.

Stage Two:
Take the ribs from the pot and allow to drain on a rack before putting into the hot oil (to keep spattering to a minimum). Strain and save the stock in the refrigerator for a meal later in the week.

Deep fry until crispy brown. Remove from oil and drain on a rack.

After oil has dripped off and ribs are somewhat cool so you can handle them, roll in the spice mixture. Arrange on a plate and serve immediately.

Here’s a fun vid to watch if you like cooking videos on YouTube.

On another day:
*marinate chicken or fish in the broth for a few hours, then broil or grill
*add rice or quinoa and leftover meat, if you’d like, to the stock. Heat for a tasty soup.
*Freeze the stock in an ice cube tray and use when you want to add flavor to side-dish noodles or rice

No Chinese 5-Spice Powder? Make your own!

Faux Chinese Five-Spice Blend (about 1/4 cup)
2 whole star anise
2 teaspoons peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces

In a dry pan over medium heat, toast the anise, peppercorns, cloves, and fennel. Stir gently and turn spices over to prevent burning. Remove from heat when you smell their fragrance. Cool on a plate.

Add the seeds and cinnamon stick pieces to a spice grinder. ( You can use a clean coffee grinder if you have no spice grinder.)

Grind for twenty seconds until a fine powder is formed. If large pieces remain, remove as much of the powder as you can and grind the remaining pieces in 5 - 10 seconds increments until no large pieces remain. Store in a sealed jar away from light.

DH’s Rating: 4 Tongues Up. He really prefers the tomato-based sweeter sauce on his ribs. But he did say these were quite flavorful and not as messy. He is a neatnik, so it surprises me that he likes the gloopy ones better.

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