So I’ve been on a bit of a blogging chocolate kick for the past few weeks. Of course I was focusing on all the lovely sweet things that can be done with chocolate because that’s what my family wants. People have been polite with their comments regarding chocolate, both here and on my Instagram feed.
I view the comments section of my blog as a place for conversation. You know, the kind of conversation that we might have at a dinner party. It’s suppose to stretch all of us. And thanks to fellow blogger Dangerspouse I’ve been able to stretch my use of chocolate to some ripping good savoury dishes.
It seems that our penchant for sweet chocolate is a new form for the ingredient. When chocolate was brought to Europe from the New World in the 1500’s by the Spanish they were able to keep it all to themselves for nearly 100 years. And they continued to use the bitter ingredient to add a depth of character to sauces, such as the cornerstone of Catalan cuisine picada. The Spanish sweetened the chocolate drink of the Aztecs with cane sugar and a bit of spicy cinnamon to become a common drink among those wealthy enough to afford the imported chocolate.
Luckily for us the intermarrying of royal families to create political and military alliances also spread culinary practices. Louis XIII spanish wife, Anne of Austria, brought her love of chocolate to France and the cat was out of the bag. A little aside here, is anyone else loving Versaille?
Anyway, back to Dangerspouse’s prodding me to try adding a bit of chocolate umph to my savoury dishes. As luck would have it during our exchange I was making lamb ribs. Lamb has such a sweet flavour that the spices I use in the roasting rub are very acidic. So I thought a bit of cocoa wouldn’t go amiss.
Well the cocoa took this nice dish to amazing so I just had to share it with you. Enjoy my friends.
Moorish lamb ribs with a hint of chocolate takes the dish to the next level.
Required skills: using a measuring device instead of eyeballing it.
Lamb ribs are notoriously fatty so a low and slow roast allows the fat to be rendered through the meat and imparting heaps of flavour. The fat also transports all the wonderful spices in the rub through the meat. These ribs will shrink considerably. Combined with the fact that most of the weight is in the bone you’ll need at least 500 gm (1 lb) of ribs for every two people.
500 gm (1 lb) lamb ribs
- 1 tbsp sumac
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp 100% cocoa
- 1 tsp salt
- Good grind of black pepper
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp tamarind chutney
- Using a mortar and pestle grind the garlic and salt until a paste forms. Mix in the olive oil. Stir through the remaining spices, cocoa and pepper. It should be a thick paste.
- Place the ribs in a glass bowl and then coat them in the spice rub. You may want to do this the night before but they are fine if you start to cook them once the rub is on.
- Place the ribs on a rack in a roasting tray. Wrap the tray tightly with baking paper and seal the package shut with kitchen twine.
- Roast the ribs for 2 hours at 140C (275F)
- Allow ribs to cool. During this stage a lot of the fat will continue to drain from the ribs.
- 45 minutes before serving preheat oven to 180C (350F).
- Prepare the the sticky glaze by whisking together the brown sugar, fish sauce and tamarind chutney in a small bowl.
- If your ribs are in a rack cut them into individual ribs. Place the ribs on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
- Generously coat the ribs in about half of the the sticky glaze.
- Roast the ribs for 30 minutes, recoating the ribs with the remaining glaze at 15 minutes.
So my friends, what is your favourite savoury chocolate dish?