Coriander and oregano aren't the most common couplings for pork, but Mike Isabella, the chef and owner of D.C.'s forthcoming Graffiato, has us wondering why. He rubs ribs with coriander and oregano, sears the meat to lock in the spices and roasts the fragrant pork with bacon, thyme and pork stock until tender to the bone. The dish exemplifies Isabella's approach at his first restaurant: simple, delectable plates with unusual flavor twists. Should you forget that coriander plays a starring role, Isabella serves the ribs with earthy coriander yogurt--another affirmation of the virtues of a pig-herb merger.
Pork Ribs with Oregano and Coriander Yogurt
Recipe adapted from Mike Isabella, Graffiato, Washington, DC
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes prep plus overnight
1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
1½ tablespoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (about ¼ small lemon)
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 rack baby back ribs (about 2 pounds)
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
¼ cup dried oregano
¼ cup ground coriander seed
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
7 garlic cloves, sliced
6 ounces smoked slab bacon, diced (about ¾ cup)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 quart chicken stock
1 quart pork stock (you can substitute additional chicken stock)
1 lemon, juiced
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
1. Make the coriander yogurt: In a medium bowl, fold together the yogurt, coriander, lemon juice, olive oil and salt until combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Drizzle the ribs with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then rub them all over with salt, oregano and coriander. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the ribs and sear until a golden brown crust forms, about 4 minutes on each side. Set aside.
3. Heat a large roasting pan over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions caramelize, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and bacon and sauté until the bacon begins to crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, bay leaves and reserved ribs to the pan. Carefully pour in both the chicken and pork stocks, turn the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil.
4. Remove the pan from the stovetop, cover with foil and place in the preheated oven until the meat is tender but still holds to the bone, about 2 hours. Remove the ribs from the oven, uncover and cool at room temperature for 1 hour then recover the pan with foil and refrigerate overnight.
5. Preheat the oven to 400°. Remove the ribs from the refrigerator, place on a sheet tray and discard the marinade. Heat in the oven until warmed through, about 15 minutes. Drizzle with the fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of sea salt and serve warm with the coriander yogurt.
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