I’m a considerate sort of person. If I’m having a vegetarian over for dinner, I will restrict the number of animals that we slaughter and serve. If there are a group of ‘lads’ I will throw lots of chilli heat into everything and serve gallons of beer, by the neck, so we can behave like teenagers and pretend that our middle-aged stomachs are not in turmoil. If my beloved Mum is coming to our regular Sunday dinner, I tend to respect her desire for moderate heat in everything. Like I say, I’m a considerate kind of guy. I employed such deference last weekend when preparing Ancho Chilli and Honey Pork Ribs. But, it seems, I can’t get everything right.
On Sunday afternoon, my sister rang, from Norway, for a chat. During the call, she mentioned to me that Mum has, of late, found our hard-wood kitchen chairs a deal (pun intended) uncomfortable. She suggested that we might improve Mum’s experience by providing a cushion. I decided that we could go one better and replace Mum’s chair with one of our rarely used dining-room chairs (with padded back and seat). But, why had she not said anything to me?
Now, getting back to the ribs….
- Eight to ten big, free range, pork ribs.
- 4 dried ancho chilis
- 2 medium hot dried New Mexico chilis
- About 150 grammes of honey
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds
First, remove the seeds from the chilis (considerate or what?). Then place the chilis in a bowl and add about a quarter litre of hot water. Leave them there for about 20 minutes.
Place the fennel seeds in a hot dry pan and fry them until they are a nice dark brown.
Give them a good going over in the mortar, reducing them to dust. Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the pork ribs. Give them about 15 minutes.
Then drain them. Place them in a dish or bowl. Add the chilis with their water, honey and fennel into a blender. Blend to a paste.
Pour the paste over the pork ribs. Leave them there for a couple of hours.
Warm the barbecue. Turn it down to low and add the ribs. Grill until cooked. In the meantime, pour the sauce into a pot and bring it to a boil. Let it thicken. Season to taste and serve it with the ribs.
It has a delicious, mild, smokey flavour that really works well.
With Mum happy in her new chair, and while we ate the ribs, I couldn’t help myself. I had to know about the discomfort she had been feeling. I wanted to know why Mum had not said anything directly to me. So, I probed… “Anna rang today. She mentioned you were feeling a bit uncomfortable with the chair. How long had it been bothering you?” She looked up, smiled distantly and replied “Oh, yes, the chair…. For years actually.” Wonderful woman our Mum.