Country Style Ribs and Black Beans

Some of my favorite bean recipes come from Annie Somerville’s Fields of Greens: New Vegetarian Recipes from the Celebrated Greens Restaurant. (New York: Bantam, 1993). Today’s dinner is inspired by her “Warm Black Beans with Chilies and Cilantro” (p. 271), which first got me hooked on how much the addition of citrus and vinegar complement black beans. I don’t care for cilantro and am neither going to use peppers that are too hot, today, but a variation of this recipe will be combined with some slow-roasted pork ribs for one of those one-dish meals perfect for a Friday night.

The other influence today is Gordon’s Grub Rub®, a rub we came to like when we lived in Arkansas and Texas. It’s a tenderizer, as well as a flavoring, so when you want that feature, it’s a good product. We order it online, now, and while I wish they had a snazzier web site, it works.

Add a bottle of beer to the roasting pan and what could go wrong?

Country Style Pork Ribs and Black Beans

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy, but time consuming
  • Print

For ribs:

Preheat oven to 325°

3 lbs country style pork ribs, boneless or bone-in

1 cup Gordon’s Grub Rub® or your favorite meat rub

2 large onions, sliced 1/2″ thick and separated

1 12 oz bottle beer

  1. Line the bottom of a roasting pan with 1/2″ sliced onions.
  2. Shake the ribs and rub in a large plastic bag until well coated. It really does stick to the meat, as they say.
  3. Place the ribs in a layer on top of the onions and pour the beer in the bottom of the pan.
  4. Roast for about 3 hours. They should be fall apart tender and the onions and beer and rub should have caramelized into a sticky deliciousness. My intent is to pull the ribs into big chunks to add to bowls of the black beans, but really they will fall apart on their own.

For the beans:

1 lb dried black beans, rinsed and sorted

6 cups water

1 onion, diced

2 tablespoons chopped garlic—I had about 5 small cloves

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

salt to taste

1 cup ancho chile puree (see below), using 2 small dried ancho peppers and 1 cup of water

splash of rice vinegar, about 1 tablespoon

  1. Place beans in large saucepan with water. Bring to boil and boil 2 minutes, then turn off heat. Cover pan and soak for 1 hour.
  2. Return to boil, and then simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
  3. You can adjust the amount of liquid in the beans by cooking uncovered at a low heat (higher than a simmer) for the second hour. You can also thicken the beans by mashing some of them.
  4. While the beans are cooking, make the chile mixture:
    1. Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until tender.
    2. Add the cumin, oregano, and salt, stirring.
    3. Stir in the chile puree and vinegar. simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the chile mixture to the beans and continue to simmer for about 30 minutes.

Serve the beans with chunks of the cooked ribs and a big dollop of sour cream. You can top with some shredded Monterrey Jack cheese and salsa, too.

Ancho chile puree:

  1. Rinse dried chiles and remove stems and seeds
  2. Tear into pieces so they fit in a small container or bowl
  3. Cover with boiling water; cover container with plastic wrap
  4. Set aside for about 45 minutes
  5. Place reconstituted chiles in blender with part of the liquid, adding more as needed to make a purée about the consistency of tomato juice
  6. Strain puree through a fine strainer to remove remaining pieces of pepper skins


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