In the middle of the night, when I couldn't sleep, again, I was thinking about what you could serve for Super Bowl Sunday that would be fun to eat, wasn't chili, and wouldn't require a grill. People want to watch the game -- I'm assuming -- not whatever is on the stove.
It struck me that I hadn't shared an incredibly easy recipe for some pretty stellar ribs with you. Ribs that need a quick oil and then spice rub and then just need to sit a spell in the oven. They would be just the thing for a football afternoon. Chill some beer, whip up some German potato salad and a tangy cole slaw in advance and entertaining and viewing would unfold almost effortlessly.
I received Andrea Reusing's Cooking In The Moment from my wonderful Mother-in-Law for my Birthday. I can't give a full commentary on the book, because I've only prepared three dishes so far, including a perfectly passable red lentil soup, a very strong macaroni with beans, roasted squash and ham hocks, and her roasted spareribs with crushed fennel and red chiles. So far I'm pleased, and looking forward to trying more of her seasonal recipes.
The roasted spareribs with crushed fennel and red chiles immediately caught my eye, because back in the day when I roasted chickens on a far more regular basis, I loved massaging them with olive oil, and smashed fennel seed and red chile, and salt and pepper. It was a fantastic way to enjoy a bird. It honestly never occurred to me to take in beyond poultry.
The other reason the recipe jumped out at me was exactly the same reason I am suggesting this to you for Super Bowl Sunday. It is absolutely easy. There are hardly any ingredients to gather and almost no thought or prep involved.
A little bit spicy thanks to chiles, highly aromatic courtesy crushed fennel seed, and succulent beyond belief, because they're pork spareribs for goodness sake, these ribs should satisfy a hungry football crowd. The edges are crisp and the interior juicy. They'd make your family happy too, while keeping you free to goof around all evening long.
Depending on the size of your crowd you may want to double the recipe. Shouldn't be a problem at all. Because of the fattiness, the ribs took well to a gentle reheating. Tasted good cold too!
Andrea Reusing's Roasted Spareribs with Crushed Fennel & Red Chiles
2 racks (about 5 pounds) pork spareribs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 small dried red chiles, such as de Arbol
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Drizzle the ribs with the oil and rub it in evenly. In a clean spice or coffee grinder, pulse the chiles and fennel seeds until coarsely but fairly evenly ground. Season the ribs on both sides with the mixture, and with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Put the ribs on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and roast, rotating the pan halfway through cooking, for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, until the meat is tender and deep golden brown, and easily pulls away from the bones. Cut into individual ribs.
Serves 4 to 6