Monday, February 16, 2009

Slow Cooked Pork Ribs with Sour Orange, Fennel and Chipotle

Happy Birthday Lenae!
It was Bruce's sister's birthday last week and we invited her and her son over for dinner. Lenae loves my cooking. I asked her if she had any requests for her dinner. She mentioned her usual favorites, MEAT and cooked celery. She has a thing for cooked celery.
I bought a pork roast and was contemplating what to make exactly. Then, other obligations got in the way and usurped the pork roast. I had a few beautiful sour oranges waiting to be turned into something special. I've never even seen a sour orange until two weeks prior when I was on a foodie shopping adventure with Edythe. We were at the Arab Market and there they were, with all the other gorgeously fresh, ripe and seasonal produce. Sour Oranges are used in many cuisines around the world (Spanish, Italian, Central American, Cuban, etc.) but haven't really become popular enough for even specialty shops to carry here in the US. I had to buy some. I couldn't wait to play with them.
I searched for recipes using the sour oranges. I found a pork recipe or two that looked interesting. I read through them and kept thinking. When it came time to make the dinner it came together with ease and made for an incredible dinner.
The tender pork absorba the delicate orange flavor, the fennel seeds pair perfectly with the celery and the chipotle adds a subtle heat which pulls them together. Serve over roasted or mashed potatoes or rice, something to soak up all the wonderful juices.

Slow Cooked Pork Ribs with Sour Orange, Fennel and Chipotle
Serves 4

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 racks of Pork Ribs
2 Onions, cut into 1" dice
1 head of Celery, cut into 1" dice
4 large cloves of Garlic, smashed
1 Tablespoon Fennel Seeds
1 - 3 Teaspoons ground Chipotle Chile
2 Sour Oranges, juiced
2 Regular Oranges, juiced
Salt and Pepper

Rinse the pork ribs under cold water, pat dry with paper towels. Salt and Pepper them well. Heat a Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add the Olive Oil. Brown the pork ribs. You can cut the racks into halves which will make them easier to manipulate.
If you are using a slow cooker, move the ribs into it after you've browned them. If not, put them aside on a plate.
Add the onion and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, orange juices, fennel, and chipotle. Bring to a boil.
If using the slow cooker, add the vegetables to it and let it cook on low for 8 hours.
If using your Dutch Oven, put the ribs back into the pot. Put in a low oven (250 F) for 8 hours.

NOTE: Since sour oranges are hard to find, you may use a substitute: juice of one lime and one regular orange for each sour orange used.

Cheesecake at the Russian Deli in Reseda, CA