Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Jerk Ribs

Hey, looks aren't everything...

On Saturday I was wondering what delights to cook up for dinner when I hit upon the idea of combining two of my favourite meals - ribs and jerk chicken - to make these amazing jerk ribs.

Possibly not a dinner for polite company, there is something so satisfyingly carnivorous about eating meat straight off the bone, and the tangy marinade here, with its lime and vinegar, makes the meat so tender and delicious that all you will be left with is a plate of clean ribs. I'm not sure that lime is a traditional ingredient in a jerk marinade, but it combines so wonderfully with the ginger to give real zing and freshness to counter the richness of the meat, sugar and soy. When I was unable to find the traditional scotch bonnet chillis, I used a Jamaican hot sauce made with scotch bonnets and habaneros instead, which works really well. I never really measure it; I just add enough to make my lips tingle. The sauce gives you the flexibility to have this as hot or mild as you like, but traditionally it should be fairly hot.

I used 600g of ribs and there was probably too much marinade for this quantity. It could easily have stretched to a kilo of ribs and fed three (or four less greedy people). You could also combine it with some boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which is what I usually use this marinade for. Instead of the usual rice and peas or coconut rice, I served this with some home-made potato wedges and a simple salad. Delicious.

Jerk Ribs

Serves 2 -3

600g-1kg pork ribs
1 red onion, roughly chopped
1 5cm piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 fat cloves of garlic
Jamaican hot sauce, to taste (start with 1 tbsp)
juice and zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
2tbsp malt vinegar
1 tbsp black treacle
1tbsp soft brown sugar
Plenty of ground black pepper
1 tbsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp allspice
generous grating of fresh nutmeg
generous grinding of black pepper
salt, to taste

1. Put all of the ingredients minus the ribs in a food processor and blend to a smooth, runny sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more hot sauce if required.

2. Line a deep sided baking tray with foil and lay the ribs out, giving each one space. Pour the marinade over the top, making sure that all of the ribs are covered. Leave to marinate for at least 2 hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 170C. Bake the ribs, uncovered, for an hour, basting with the marinade every so often as it reduces and gets sticky.

4. Serve the ribs with the remaining sauce drizzled over the top. Eschew table manners and dig in!

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