Baby back ribs braised till they fall off the bone, then topped with herby crumbs, and a comforting stew of lentils and black pudding cooked in chorizo oil
Food, for me, is about memories and family, and today’s two pork-and-potato recipes are cases in point. The rib dish was one of my dad’s all-time favourites, and the way my mum still makes it is very simple indeed: she slow-cooks the meat until it’s really tender, then adds the potatoes and cooks them until they’re just starting to break down. The lentil dish is likewise steeped in our home life in Spain. When I was a kid, I couldn’t stand lentils, and remember a big drama one day when I turned my nose up at a bowl of them one lunchtime. Mum made me have them for dinner, too, and again for breakfast the next morning! Anyway, fast-forward to today and I love lentils so much, this is now my death row dish.
These are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and perfect all year round, too.
Prep 10-15 min
Cook 1 hr
2 tbsp olive oil
250g chorizo, sliced
1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
1 small carrot, chopped
300g large floury potatoes, peeled and quartered or cut into large chunks
1-2 fresh bay leaves
250g small brown lentils (ideally puy), rinsed
1 litre chicken stock, ideally homemade
Sea salt and black pepper
150g morcilla, or black pudding, chopped
Crusty bread, to serve
Put the oil in a deep casserole dish on a medium heat. Add the chorizo slices and cook, stirring, until golden on both sides. Once cooked, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate, leaving the reddish oil behind in the pan.
Stir the onion into the chorizo oil, cook for five minutes, until slightly softened, then add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add the carrot, potatoes and bay leaves, cook, stirring occasionally, for a couple of minutes more , then add the lentils and stock. Season generously and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes, until the lentils have softened but still have some bite.
The sauce should be quite soupy, so if it seems a little thick and dry, add a splash of extra stock. Return the chorizo to the pan, along with the morcilla, and cook, uncovered, for five to seven minutes. Serve in warmed bowls with crusty bread.
My mum doesn’t include the crumbs in her version of this, but I think they add an extra something special.
Prep 10-15 min
Marinate 3 hr+
Cook 2 hr
1½-2 kg baby back ribs
1 tsp pimentón de la Vera
4 garlic cloves, bashed and peeled
4 tbsp olive oil
1½ tsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed
150ml white wine
1 large onion, peeled and finely sliced
2 bay leaves
500ml chicken stock, homemade, ideally
300g new potatoes
For the crumbs
4 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely grated
75g fresh white breadcrumbs
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
6 sage leaves, shredded
Arrange the ribs in a large dish, add the pimentón, two of the bashed garlic cloves, two tablespoons of the olive oil, a teaspoon of the crushed cumin seeds and 50ml of the white wine. Toss to coat the ribs, then cover and leave to marinate for at least three hours (or put in the fridge overnight).
Heat the oven to 170C (150C fan)/340F/gas 3½. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a deep casserole dish on a high heat. Take the ribs out of their marinade (keep the marinade for later), and sear for four to five minutes on each side, until browned all over. Transfer the ribs to a plate, add the onion to the pan and saute, stirring, for 10 minutes, until brown. Add the remaining garlic and cumin seeds, stir to combine, then return the ribs to the pan.
Pour in the remaining white wine, leave to bubble for a minute, then add the bay leaves, stock and reserved marinade. Season well and bring to a boil, then cover and transfer to the oven to cook for an hour to an hour and a half, until the meat is tender and beginning to pull away from the bones.
Crack the new potatoes in half with the tip of a knife (this helps them to release their starch), then add to the casserole dish and cook for 30-40 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through and starting to break apart a bit and thicken the sauce.
Meanwhile, make the herby crumbs. Put the oil in a frying pan on a medium-high heat, fry the garlic for 10 seconds, then add the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and sage. Remove the lid from the casserole, sprinkle the crumb mix all over the top, then bake uncovered for a further 20 minutes. Serve in shallow bowls with lots of the lovely sauce.
Recipes extracted from The Spanish Home Kitchen: Simple, Seasonal Recipes and Memories from My Home, by José Pizarro, published by Hardie Grant at £27. To order a copy for £23.49, go to guardianbookshop.com