Add a Mexican flair to your pork ribs or pork chops with this delicious stovetop recipe!
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. Best of all, they are cooked indoors making it the perfect thing to cook on cold winter days. I use St. Louis cut ribs in this prep because they lay flatter and are easier to brown in a pan but you can use any cut.
This is a great stove-top recipe for pork ribs or chops swimming in a lush, juicy sauce on a bed of rice. Pork is a major constituent in the Mexican diet as are peppers, onions, tomatoes, and rice. This traditional dish uses them all and becomes something truly special.
About the ribs. Spare ribs will take only about 60 to 90 minutes to get tender, but country ribs, which are really chops not ribs, have thicker meat and may take longer, up to 2 hours.
Toast the ancho. 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 to 60 seconds, just enough to toast them or until steam rises. Turn them over and repeat. This amps up the flavor. Set them aside, and when they cool, break them into 1/2″ pieces.
Cook the bacon. Add the American bacon to the hot pan, and cook until it starts rendering fat.
Brown the ribs. Turn the heat down to medium. Add the ribs to the pan and brown them in the bacon fat on three sides (the curvature of the bone will probably prevent you from browning the back. Or if you wish, brown them on the grill or under the broiler so you can render some of the fat on the back side.
Saute the veg. If the bacon is getting crisp, remove it. Otherwise, leave it in the pan. Remove the pork. Dice the ham, peppers, and onions (leave the seeds in the jalapenos for heat). Cook until they are limp, stirring occasionally.
Simmer. Add the tomato sauce, olives, capers, ancho, oregano, Tabasco, and meat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, just above low. Stir and simmer uncovered until tender, an hour for spare ribs, longer for country ribs and chops, perhaps 2 hours. If you are not using a nonstick pan, stir occasionally to make sure nothing is burning on the bottom of the pan. If the liquid gets too thick and too low, add a bit more water.
Make the rice. 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.
Serve. 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. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with a bottle of hot sauce on the side.
Meathead - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.
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