Spare Rib Sauce

Okay, I get it, guys love ribs. I don’t. They are sticky, sweet, and messy. I don’t like messy food. BUT, and yes, this is a big BUT – I love my Spare Rib Sauce. This recipe originally came from Ronald Johnson, a poet from California, who wrote my favorite cookbook ever – Simple Fare. I have modified this recipe over the years – minimally- and crave it every winter. It is cheap, simple, and absolutely delicious. The tomato sauce gets somewhat caramelized with the long cooking time and adds a significant depth of flavor with minimal effort. My kind of dish. I highly suggest you make this along with my oven cooked polenta. I promise you will want to make it a “Do Again.”

Sparerib Sauce with Creamy Polenta

Sparerib Sauce with Creamy Polenta

Spare Rib Sauce

Adapted from “Simple Fare” by Ronald Johnson (out of print)

1 rack of ribs, sliced into individual ribs

2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup dry, red wine

1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, crushed

¼ – ½ tsp crushed red pepper

salt and pepper to taste

Place the olive oil into the bottom of a large skillet or dutch oven. Either works fine. Once heated, place the individual ribs in the pan to brown on all sides. This does a good job of rendering the fat off of the ribs as well. Saute the onions and garlic over low heat along with the ribs for a few minutes until wilted. Be careful not to burn the garlic!

Once they are golden-brown, add the red wine and simmer until reduced by half. Then pour in the crushed tomatoes, and red pepper flakes. Stir to coat, place lid on the pot and cook for 2 hours. You can either cook it on the stovetop on low or place in a 300 degree oven. Your choice.

Once done, I like to skim off some of the fat, and add any salt or pepper if needed.

And you are done! That easy.

My favorite thing to accompany it with is a big vat of soft polenta. Check out that recipe on another post! This can be cooked in the oven as well. Saves a lot of hovering over the stove which I appreciate on a busy weeknight a lot.

NOTE: When I purchase a rack of ribs, I always turn it over to the back and peel off the membrane. I just take a knife and nick the edge of the ribs to separate a piece of the thin membrane then grab it an pull. If it rips, don’t worry – just start again. This isn’t required, but I find that I don’t like the texture of the membrane, so it makes the dish more palatable for me.


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