The Best Stovetop Ribs: Arroz Con Costillas de Cerd (Mexican Rice with Ribs of Pig)
Pork is a major constituent in the Mexican diet as are peppers, onions, tomatoes, and rice. This traditional old peasant dish uses them all and elevates itself from everyday fare to something special. You can use country ribs or spareribs in this prep, but do not use baby backs. They are too curvy to brown properly in a pan. Best of all, they are cooked indoors making it the perfect thing to cook on cold winter days.
Yield. Four servings.
1 ancho (dried poblano) pepper
6 slices of smoked bacon
2 ounces cured, smoked ham or Canadian-style bacon, diced
2 medium onions, diced
3 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 jalapeño (leave the seeds and ribs in)
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon capers
12 green olives with pimentos
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 teaspoons Chipotle Tabasco for a mild heat
8 country ribs or 1 slab of spareribs cut into individual ribs.
1 can (19 ounces) garbanzos (chickpeas)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups rice
1 tablespoon salt
1) Split the ancho, discard the seeds and stem, and tear it into large flat pieces. Heat a large, deep non-stick frying pan, on medium. Place the ancho pieces in the pan and press them down with a spatula for 30-60 seconds, just enough to toast them or until steam rises. Turn them over and repeat. Set them aside, and when they cool, break them into 1/2" pieces.
2) Add the bacon to the hot pan, and cook until it starts rendering fat.
3) Turn the heat down to medium. Add the country ribs to the pan and brown them in the bacon fat on both sides. If you are using spareribs, do the best you can to brown them on the meaty side or brown them under the broiler.
4) If the bacon is getting crisp, remove it. Otherwise, leave it in the pan. Remove the pork and toss in the ham, peppers, and onions. Cook until they are limp, stirring occasionally.
5) Add the tomato sauce, olives, capers, ancho, oregano, Tabasco, and meat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, just above low. Stir and braise uncovered at 180°F for an hour. If you are not using a non-stick pan, stir occasionally to make sure nothing is burning on the bottom of the pan.
6) After the ribs have simmered for 25 minutes, in another pot, boil four cups water and the salt. Add the rice, cover, and cook for 30 minutes until ready or follow the directions on the box. Tip: to keep rice from sticking to the cooker or pot, coat it lightly with vegetable oil, preferably from a spray can.
7) About three minutes before serving, add the garbanzos to the ribs. Serve by scooping the rice onto a plate and place the ribs and liquid on top. Serve with a bottle of Chipotle Tabasco on the side.
This page was revised on 2/10/2007
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