TT Test Kitchen Tip: Meltingly tender baby back ribs get swiped with a dried chile and chocolate-infused mole for a sultry take on barbecued ribs. If you can't find Mexican chocolate, substitute semisweet chocolate.
Pork Ribs with Mole Glaze
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: Serves 4
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1½ teaspoons ground oregano, divided (preferably Mexican oregano)
½ medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
3 plum tomatoes
3 tomatillos, husked then rinsed
3 pounds baby back pork ribs
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cups water
2 dried ancho chiles, top removed and seeds discarded
1 dried guajillo chile, top removed and seeds discarded
¼ cup pepitas, toasted
½ cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
One 2-ounce tablet Mexican chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1. Preheat the oven to 425°. In a medium bowl, toss together the olive oil, garlic, ½ teaspoon of the oregano, onion, tomatoes and tomatillos. Arrange on a baking sheet, season with salt and place in the oven. Roast until the tomatoes and tomatillos are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
2. Lower the oven temperature to 250°. Season the ribs with salt, pepper and the remaining teaspoon oregano. Set a grill pan over high heat and sear the ribs until slightly browned, about 4 minutes on each side. Place the ribs on an aluminum-foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, make the mole: Bring the water to a boil. Place the chiles in a large bowl and pour boiling water over them until they are submerged. Top the bowl with a wet paper towel and set aside until the chiles are rehydrated, about 30 minutes. Drain the chiles.
4. In a food processor or blender, purée the cooled tomato-tomatillo mixture with the rehydrated chiles, toasted pepitas and chicken broth. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and into a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, then stir in the brown sugar, chocolate, cinnamon and allspice. Season with salt and black pepper and simmer for 10 minutes. Cover to keep warm.
5. Brush some of the mole over the ribs and return the ribs to the oven until tender, an additional 1 to 1½ hours. Brush with more sauce and serve hot with additional sauce on the side.