The coriander-oregano rub is the trick to making these ribs so flavorful. The coriander yogurt augments the pork's natural flavor.
Make Ahead: The coriander yogurt can be made and refrigerated up to 3 days in advance.
Yield: Makes small-plate servings
- For the yogurt
- 1 tablespoon coriander seed
- 1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
- 1 teaspoon orange zest (from 1 small orange)
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- For the ribs
- 1/4 cup coriander seed
- 1/4 cup dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 rack baby back pork ribs, cut into 3-bone pieces
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 medium onion, cut into medium dice (1 cup)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic (about 8 cloves)
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 quarts homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth
- 1 lemon, cut into quarters
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, preferably Maldon
For the yogurt: Toast the coriander seed in a dry saute pan or skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes, shaking the pan often to prevent burning. Transfer to a spice grinder and grind the toasted coriander seed to a powder.
Combine the powder with the yogurt, orange zest, lemon juice, olive oil and salt in a small mixing bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, then refrigerate. Bring it to room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.
For the ribs: Process the coriander seed in the same manner, toasting and grinding. Mix with the dried oregano and divide into two equal portions. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt to each portion.
Season the ribs on both sides with one portion of the coriander-oregano-salt mixture.
Heat the canola oil in a large, heavy-bottomed oven-safe pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches as needed, add the ribs and sear the meaty side for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Because the ribs are curved, try to use the outer edges of the pot to get a good sear. Transfer the seared ribs to a cutting board to rest.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cook the onions in the same pot or Dutch oven over medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring a few times, or until they soft and translucent. If they start to brown, add a teaspoon of water to slow the cooking process. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the thyme, bay leaf, broth and the seared ribs. Increase the heat to medium-high to bring the broth just to a boil, then cover, transfer to the oven and bake for 2 hours or until the meat is tender and pulls easily away from the bone.
Let the ribs cool in the liquid for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Remove the ribs from the liquid and transfer them to a baking sheet, placing them meat side up. Season with the remaining coriander-oregano-salt mixture. Return them to the oven and roast for 6 to 8 minutes or until a golden-brown crust forms. Discard the cooking liquid.
To serve, stack the ribs on platter. Squeeze the juice from the lemon over the ribs and season with sea salt. Serve immediately, with the coriander yogurt on the side.
Adapted from "Mike Isabella's Crazy Good Italian," by Mike Isabella (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2012).
Tested by Amy Kim.
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