Ripped Recipe: Tonight’s Dinner – Braised Baby Back Ribs Over Mashed Kabocha and Merguez Sausage in Lettuce Wraps with Yogurt Sauce


I fainted after eating this.

I fainted after eating this.

Ribs

Ingredients
3 lbs baby back ribs (I get extra thick from my butcher)
Several Tbsp rub of your preference (this time, I bought a pre-made rub)
1 cup white wine or red wine or unsalted chicken stock
a few cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp white vinegar

1 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp barbecue sauce

Preparation
Rub ribs with… rub. Refrigerate for a couple of hour wrapped in foil. Use one large sheet so that it completely encloses the ribs with the seam at the top. You’ll want to be able to tightly seal the ends once it’s in the oven.

Preheat oven to 225 F.

Mix liquid, garlic, onion, honey, sugar, Worcestershire, vinegar in bowl and warm in microwave for a handful of seconds to increase viscosity of honey.

Remove ribs from fridge and add about 2/3 liquid to foil pouch. Make sure pouch holds liquid inside. Reseal, put on baking sheet and into oven for around 2.5 hrs.

Toward the end of cooking time, pour remaining braising liquid into small pan. Add ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, mix and reduce to lightly syrupy consistency.

Remove ribs from oven, brush with reduction, place under broiler for 6-10 mins or however long it takes to get the caramelization you want on the ribs. Cut up and suffocate these with your stomach.

Ribs awaiting glaze in background; glaze and steaming kabocha in fore.

Ribs awaiting glaze in background; glaze and steaming kabocha in fore.

Mashed Kabocha Squash

Peel and cut a kabocha squash into approximately 1″ cubes. You can either steam them for 12-15 minutes until tender or roast at 425 F for 35-40 mins. Kabocha (more than any other squash IMO) takes on an amazing flavor during a nice roasting.

When finished cooking, place squash in large bowl. Add a few pats butter (I like organic cultured butter), some grated Romano, salt, pepper, milk or stock. Maybe some cinnamon. Smash with fork or potato masher. Load plate and place drippy ribs on top if you haven’t eaten them all before sitting at the table.

Merguez with Yogurt Sauce

This makes 30 sausages. I don’t know if it’s truly Merguez (probably not), but the flavor profile is similar.

Holy Merguez, beefman! My vision is closing in!

Holy Merguez, beefman! My vision is closing in!

Ingredients
3 lbs 90/10 ground chuck (I actually use a mix of 90 and 85)
1/2 large sweet onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 Tbsp fresh mint, minced
3-4 Tbsp dried parsley
4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp Ras El Hanout
3 Tbsp zatar (of which I ran out, so I substituted it with the following, which approximates the flavor: 4 tsp ground thyme; 2 Tbsp tahini; 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice)
1 tsp cinnamon

Preparation
In a bowl, mix everything listed above and refrigerate for an hour or so.

Preheat oven to 350 F

Roll beef mixture into balls, then elongate into sausage shape. Place onto parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with glaze recipe below. Into oven for around 20 mins or until cooked through.

For glaze:
1/2 cup red wine
2 tsp honey
a few Tbsp unsalted chicken stock
pinch kosher salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cumin

Mix all of the above and warm for a few seconds in microwave to decrease viscosity of honey.

For yogurt sauce:
1/2 cup full fat plain Greek yogurt
juice 1/2 lemon
1-2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp honey
a few leaves minced mint
1/2 tsp garlic powder
scant 1 tsp cumin
scant 1 tsp ground thyme
scant 1 tsp Ras el Hanout
shake cinnamon
2 pinches kosher salt

Mix all of the above and refrigerate for a little while.

To serve, wrap sausage in lettuce leaf (bib or romaine is nice). Spoon on some yogurt sauce and kill it with your teeth. Heck, I even smashed some steamed cinnamon kabocha in there for extra drama.

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