I’ve been in Iraq only a few days and already I am craving the most heavenly of animals, which this whole region, sadly, never puts to tongue. Yes, I am talking PIG.
Luckily, I have an active imagination and will pretend I am eating grass-finished pork ribs from the Hudson Valley while I polish off whatever actually ends up on my plate --most likely charred kebab or rice and beans (think, Campbell’s Pork ‘n Beans, minus the sugar and, of course, the pork.)
Strategizing in advance, I tried out the below shortly before I left the US. I bought the pork in December, with the knowledge it would keep in the freezer for six months but ignorant of how necessary they would become. (Indeed, they will be polished off twice!) They were (are?) from Hawthorne Valley farm, which we visited in February. Happy to report that the pigs looked as happy as I do when swallowing their flesh.
Cocoa Pork Ribs
4 Pork Ribs
2 Tbs whole cardamom seeds
2 Tbs fennel seeds
3 Tbs unsweetened cocoa
2 Tbs brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cayenne (or more)
½ teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
Grind cardamom and fennel seeds in food processor until fine. Add other ingredients and stir until well mixed. Rub thickly on rinsed and patted dry meat, up to a day in advance.
Sear on both sides, on medium heat. Cook through.
* picture by Robyn Mackenzie