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Pork Ribs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

This recipe is for a delicious stew made with pork ribs, which are cooked in a spicy tomato sauce that uses Morita pepper. It’s a dish that is better known in the central part of Mexico, and the ways of cooking it are very diverse.
Course Pork
Cuisine Mexican

Ingredients

To cook the pork ribs:

  • 2 lbs. country-style pork ribs
  • ¼ of a medium-size white onion
  • 2 medium-size garlic cloves unpeeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups of water
  • Salt to season

For the sauce:

  • lbs. tomatoes
  • 4 dried Morita peppers see Notes
  • ¼ of a medium-size white onion
  • 1 medium-size garlic clove peeled
  • tsp. dried thyme
  • tsp. marjoram
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cut the country-style pork ribs into small pieces, then place them in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add the garlic cloves, bay leaf, and ¼ white onion and cover with the water. Season with salt.
  • Place the pot over high heat to bring the water to a boil. Once it comes to a boil (about 5-7 minutes, see notes), reduce the heat to gently simmer the meat for about 30-40 more minutes, until the meat is cooked and tender. A gray foam will start to form at the surface of the cooking broth, so make sure to skim it off and discard it with a spoon.
  • While the pork is cooking, place the tomatoes, Morita peppers, ¼ of a medium white onion, and 1 garlic clove in a saucepan. Cover with water, and place the saucepan over medium heat to cook for about 20 minutes. Your peppers should look soft.
  • After they’re cooked, place the tomatoes, onion, peppers and garlic in your blender, and process them until you have a smooth sauce. Set aside.
  • Once the meat is cooked, remove all the liquid, then let the meat begin to brown in its own fat at medium-low heat. In case the meat does not release enough fat, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Browning the meat will help add more flavors to it and to the finished dish. This step will take about 4-5 minutes.
  • When you see that the meat is somewhat browned, add the sauce to the pot. Use a strainer when pouring in the sauce, so that no bits of the pepper skins get into the sauce. Next, crumble the dried herbs with your fingers and add them to the sauce. Stir and season with salt and pepper. After this, let the stew simmer for 10 more minutes. If you see that the sauce is too thick for you taste, add a couple of tablespoons of the cooking broth (from the pork ribs) to thin it a little bit.
  • Serve with white rice and warm corn tortillas. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Morita peppers are somewhat spicy, so if you’re not used to eating spicy, simply reduce the number of peppers to half of what the recipe indicates.
  • You can buy Morita peppers at Latin stores, or online stores. If you can't find them, you can substitute them for dried chipotle peppers. If neither of these two are available, you can use chipotle peppers in adobo, the kind that are sold in a can or a jar.
  • Keep in mind that if the meat is still cold when you put it in the pot to cook, the water will take longer to come to a boil, about 3-5 more minutes.
  • I wanted this recipe to be easy to make, and the easiest way to make the sauce is to simply boil the ingredients prior to blending. In case you want to roast the ingredients, place them on a hot griddle, and rotate them from time to time to achieve an even roasting. The Morita peppers will only take about a minute to roast. Remove them promptly to avoid burning their skins.