Tomatillo-Chipotle-Glazed Country Ribs
- Roasted Tomatillo-Chipotle Salsa:
- 6 dried guajillo or Anaheim chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 4 to 6 dried chipotle chiles, stems discarded, or 4 to 5 chipotles in adobo
- 6 large unpeeled garlic cloves
- 1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
- Sugar (optional)
- 3 pounds pork country ribs
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Romaine lettuce leaves, for serving
- sliced radishes and fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish
For the Salsa:
If using dried chiles, heat a dry griddle or heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add half the chiles and toast, pressing down on them with a metal spatula, until they start to crackle. Turn and toast the other side. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the remaining chiles. Cover the chiles with hot water and let soften for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the chiles. If using canned chiles, simple wipe off the adobo.
Heat a dry griddle or heavy skillet over moderate heat. Toast the garlic, turning occasionally, until softened and blackened in spots, about 15 minutes. Let cool, then peel and roughly chop.
Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Spread the tomatillos on a rimmed baking sheet and broil for about 8 minutes, turning once or until blackened in spots and softened. Let cool on the baking sheet.
Scrape the tomatillos and any accumulated juices into a food processor or blender and add the chiles and roasted garlic. Puree until thickened and smooth. For a chunkier salsa, pulse the tomatillos and roasted garlic until coarsely pureed; finely chop the chiles and add them to the tomatillo mixture. Transfer the salsa to a bowl and stir in 6 to 8 tablespoons of water, so the salsa has a spoonable consistency. Season with salt, plus a little sugar, if you want to soften the tangy edge.
For the ribs:
Heat a dry griddle or heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add 2 of the chiles, opening them flat on the hot surface. Toast, pressing down, until they start to crackle. Turn and toast the other side, then transfer to a blender. Toast the remaining chiles and add them to the blender along with the Roasted Tomatillo-Chipotle Salsa. Blend until smooth, scraping the sides. Pass the puree through a medium strainer into a bowl.
In a large bowl, smear the ribs with half of the chile mixture, then cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. In another bowl, mix the remaining chile mixture with the honey; cover and refrigerate.
Preheat the oven to 325°. Spread the ribs and marinade in a single layer in a baking dish. Drizzle 1/4 cup of water around them, cover with foil and roast for 1 1/2 hours. uncover and bake for about 15 minutes longer, or until tender. Discard the pan juices.
Raise the oven temperature to 350°. Brush the ribs generously with the chile-honey sauce. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the ribs are glazed and a little crusty.
Line a serving platter with the romaine and pile the ribs on top. Garnish with the radishes and cilantro and dig in; pass around any remaining chile-honey sauce.
Make Ahead: The chile mixture can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.