CHOCOLATE ROASTED SPARE RIBS
by Stefan Gates
I once saw a man—I kid you not—eating spare ribs with a knife and fork. I nearly asked him if he was paying penance for some unspeakable sin, but then I remembered that there's a generation for whom touching food with fingers is simply out of the question. Thankfully, those days are over, and we can now revel in the laying on of hands. Ribs (and rib sauce fingers) were made for slurping, licking, sucking, and generally slobbering over, and these chocolatey ones make them almost unbearably delicious. Just leave the cutlery in the drawer.
This chocolate marinade gives the ribs a rich, smoky flavor that everyone seems to love. You might be tempted to use more chocolate than the recipe suggests, but resist. Too much will make this dish cloying.
• 3½ lb pork ribs, skin removed, cut into separate ribs
For The Marinade
• 1/2 cup tomato paste
• 4oz dark chocolate, grated
• 1 mild red chile, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon red chile flakes)
• 1¼ in thumb of ginger, peeled and grated
• 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder (optional)
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 2 tablespoons honey
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F (or better still, start up your barbecue). Place all the marinade ingredients into a saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring to prevent the marinade from burning.
Lay the ribs in one or two roasting pans, not too tightly packed (they can sometimes release a fair amount of moisture and you want them to roast, not poach; if they poach, they can turn out a little rubbery).
Pour the sauce over the top and stir to make sure that the ribs are thoroughly coated. Roast uncovered in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, turning once. Check that the ribs are cooked through, then serve with rice and sesame stir- fried cabbage.