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How was your Bastille Day? We had planned to take a stroll along the Canal Saint-Martin and go see the fireworks at La Tour Eiffel, but our plans were thwarted by the intermittent thunderstorms, so we opted to stay home.

I know, not very patriotic of me, was it? But I was highly amused to learn (via YouTube) that last year’s Bastille Day fireworks were Broadway musical themed — very strange to hear “America” and “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” (the Madonna version, no less) blasting from the symbol of France. Apparently this year, it was disco themed. In lieu of fireworks and crowds, we celebrated French independence with a cozy dinner.

When I think of La Fête Nationale, I think… ribs. When I was growing up, my family always celebrated the birthday of our adopted nation with galbi, Korean short ribs — the flavor of the old country mixed with the Fourth of July barbecue tradition of the new country. I guess that’s what I was trying to do here. A tasty, sticky reminder of the good ol’ U. S. of A. while celebrating the liberté, égalité, fraternité of the French.

Bastille Day Ribs

This recipe is designed for the broiler, but I highly encourage you to use a grill (if you have one) to finish off these ribs.

The racks I got were the meatiest, fattiest pork ribs I’ve ever seen — a full inch of meat on top of each bone! If your ribs are on the thinner side, you could probably get away with a shorter braising time — but no less than two hours.

Makes 2-3 servings.

2 pounds baby back pork ribs

For the rub:
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tsp rosemary, chopped fine
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon balsamic reduction (or 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar)

For the braise:
1/2 cup white wine

For the sauce:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of balsamic reduction (or 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar)
pan drippings

Rub: Mix together the rub ingredients. Rub the mixture evenly all over your ribs, on top and underneath, then place the ribs in a deep baking dish or roasting pan. Put the pan in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least four hours, overnight if you can.

Braise: Heat your oven to 425° F. Pour the 1/2 cup white wine into the bottom of the roasting pan with your ribs, then cover tightly with foil. Roast for about two and a half hours, or until the meat is almost falling off the bone. Remove the ribs to a plate while you make the sauce.

Sauce: Pour the drippings from the roasting pan into a medium-sized saucepan along with all of the other sauce ingredients. Stir and simmer over medium heat until reduced and thickened to a sauce-like consistency, 10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Broil: Line a shallow baking pan with foil and turn your broiler on to medium. Cut your ribs into individual pieces. Place the ribs onto the pan, brush with sauce, and broil for 3-4 minutes. Turn the ribs, baste with the sauce again, and broil for another 3-4 minutes. Continue basting, turning, and broiling at 3-4 minute intervals until the sauce becomes nicely caramelized and the corners of the ribs are a bit charred, about 20 minutes total.

Music to cook by: July, July! [The Decemberists // Castaways and Cutouts]

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