Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Spare ribs

Shopping at the weekend, I came across some knobbly, muddy, raw beetroot (rather rarer than one might think, in the Highlands) which I later carried into the living room with all the ceremony of a bevy of Cardinals parading a holy relic. This treasure was showed to Yulya with reverence and a hopeful smile - hopeful that she'd consent to make her superlative red borsch sometime this week.

Last night my hopes were fulfilled, with much fresh bread and smacking of lips. I had, however, on the supermarket run to get dill and sour cream, nudged her ladyship away from pork chops and towards the ribs, on the grounds that they'd make better stock. In a trice we had a shared vision of sticky-sweet pork ribs as another meal, and into the basket they went.
So while Yulya was working miracles with the soup pan, I set about marinating the leftover ribs. A Kikkoman teriyaki marinade got acquainted with the ribs, helped by some light soy, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, five spice, chopped garlic and mirin, before they were all sent to cool their heels in the fridge till needed.

Tonight the whole lot was transferred to a maximum-security casserole for inspection. Finding it all a little lacking, I set about scouring the bottom shelf of the fridge - the one occupied entirely by pickles and salsas and sauces - for supplies. The last few spoonfuls of spicy apple chutney from the Storehouse? In they go! The scrapings from a jar of hoisin sauce? The survivor of duck wraps (another leftover treat), hiding behind the Arran tomato relish, their luck has finally run out. Half a tin of tomatoes, not required for the borsch, soon follows, along with a dollop of brown sauce, a teaspoon of honey and another sprinkling of five spice.

An hour and a half later, 180 degree heat had reduced this to a sticky, slightly carbonised mess, reminiscent of my ox tail braise - this, even with half a cup of water added halfway through. A simple stir fry and some steamed rice (after a slight rizastrophe left me swearing over the first batch) joined the ribs on the plate for a very brief meeting.

Next time, I will start cooking earlier - and make more ;-)

We discovered, after soaking, that this made an unholy mess of the cast iron casserole dish. I'd be tempted to line it with foil next time.

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