Monday, March 26, 2018

Braised Spareribs with Anchovies, White Wine, Garlic, and Olives #KitchenMatrixCookingProject

Another week, another recipe for the Kitchen Matrix Project, named after Mark Bittman's Kitchen Matrix cookbook. You can read about it: here. This month, I picked the recipes for the month am I'm very excited about the dishes and the bloggers who are joining me. And I am thrilled with how simple these recipes are to make. 

This week, I picked 'Pork Ribs + 9 Ways' for the group. I had a tough time deciding because I was intrigued by the Salt and Pepper-Grilled Baby Back Ribs, Pasta with Pork Ribs, and the Smoked and Roasted Spare Ribs with Sage and Ginger. But those will be for another day. Stay tuned.

More Ribs

Whose Ribs?!?

Every time we have ribs for dinner, we chuckle about this story. D, my Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf, was about 3-years-old at the time, riding in the cart with me at the grocery store. He asked me about the rack of ribs in the cart, pointing, "Mommy, what are those?"

Ribs, I answered.

His chubby fingers went to his side and he declared, "These are my ribs!"

Yes, that's true.

Horror contorted his little face and he whispered, pointing into my shopping cart, "Whose ribs are those?!?"

Not a person's, I assured him.

"Then who?" he demanded. He knew meat came from a living animal. But, I suppose, ribs were a little too recognizable. Now he loves ribs, but we still tell that story every time they're on our table.

Braised Spareribs with Anchovies, 
White Wine, Garlic, and Olives
slightly adapted from Mark Bittman's Kitchen Matrix

Quick note about the kind of ribs I that we know they weren't human ribs. I had to do some reading about the difference between "ribs" and "spare ribs." I don't usually think about that; to me, ribs are ribs. But, I was so wrong! 

The Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf pulled out some reference books - I'm not actually sure in which he found it, but I know he pulled out Farm Anatomy and Food Anatomy - and figured it out for me.

Spare ribs are the ribs cut from the belly of the animal and are formed by cutting away the breastbone The slab is more rectangular in shape. Back ribs are cut from where the rib meets the spine after the loin is removed. The upper ones are called baby back ribs. These are the ones I usually buy. I think, after this, I'll definitely be buying this rack more often.


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3 to 4 pounds spare ribs, but into individual ribs
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 to 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1 C dry white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1/4 C capers
  • 1/2 C pitted olives (I used Kalamata)


Sprinkle the ribs with salt and pepper. Warm the olive oil in the base of a Dutch oven or heavy lidded pot. When the oil is hot, brown the ribs on each side, approximately 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Stir in the garlic and anchovies. Pour in the wine and bring to a simmer. Scatter the capers and olive over the top. Cover and braise until the ribs are tender, approximately 90 minutes. Serve hot.


  1. That is a very cute story! It could turn an elf into a vegetarian!

    P.S. I'm kind of loving the spare ribs myself after this week!

  2. This was my first consideration but when I went into my freezer the spare ribs were all gone so I went with country ribs. These certainly look delicious.


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