spicy red sauce

tomato-pepper-chipotle sauce

Here’s a lovely sauce to make you feel like it’s summer again, even though it may be more than a little snowy outside. Oven-roasted tomatoes and peppers, pureed with chipotles and spices, then simmered with onion until thick, make for a spicy rich sauce redolent of the flavors of late summer. Using the sauce to braise country-style pork ribs makes for some fabulous winter tacos.

country style pork ribs

We’ve just started to get into the half pig we bought recently. The chops we started with were fantastic, pan-seared and coated with a cider reduction. More recently I tried braising some blade steaks in a sauce of vinegar, mustard and beer, which was eye-rollingly good but one of the ugliest plates I’ve ever produced (the braised green cabbage on the side didn’t help matters). These ribs came somewhere in between, and while I didn’t get any pictures of the shredded pork tacos, trust me that they were extremely successful as well. However, don’t feel that you need to use this sauce with pork – it would be great used for enchiladas, or on eggs, or stirred into a pot of beans, or anywhere that could use a shot of spicy tomato goodness.

roasted tomatoes and peppers


frying onions


Roasted tomato-pepper sauce with chipotles

from (guess where?) All About Braising by Molly Stevens

  • 3/4 lb tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic (we left this out of this batch, due to a friend’s allergy)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 or 3 chipotles in adobo
  • salt
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 1 onion, diced

Turn on the broiler and set a rack about four inches below the heat. Place the tomatoes, pepper and garlic on a baking sheet and position under the flame. Broil, turning occasionally (and removing any vegetables that seem done) until everything is bubbly and slightly charred on all sides. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Core the tomatoes and peel off the skin, peel the garlic, and peel and seed the bell pepper. Drop them in a food processor.  Add the dried spices, vinegar, chipotles (with some of their sauce), and some salt, and process to a coarse puree. Taste, add salt and/or sugar as needed.

Fry the onion in olive oil until soft, then pour in the puree and simmer for about ten minutes. Use it for anything you like.

If braising pork in the sauce: take 2 or 3 pounds of  country-style ribs, season them with salt and pepper and sear them in batches in a skillet. When browned all over, lay them in a gratin dish and pour the sauce all over. Cover tightly with foil and put in the oven for an hour or so at 300°. Take off the foil and roast another 30 minutes at 350°. Serve as is, or take the meat out of the sauce to cool and shred it by hand, then combine it with the sauce again.

country style pork ribs

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