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Chef Berry's 5-Spice Ribs with
Smothered Onions and Spicy Craisin BBQ Sauce

Chef Berry's 5-Spice Ribs with Smothered Onions and Spicy Craisin BBQ SauceTom Berry, Executive Chef of Bambara Restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, uses cranberries to create rather untraditional holiday dishes that still work in the flavors of the season. According to Chef Berry, “Cranberries are an essential part of the holiday meal, and it’s more than just the sauce. I’ve added the popular fruit to stuffing, marinades and appetizers.” Try this signature dish yourself and see just how easy it is to cook with cranberries.

Recipe Ingredients:

2 quarts water
2 tablespoons Chinese 5-spice powder
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 1/2 pounds baby back pork ribs (about 2 whole racks)
2 medium onions, cut in half and then sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Spicy Craisin BBQ Sauce:
1 tablespoon canola oil for cooking
1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup Ocean Spray® Craisins Sweetened Dried Cranberries
2 cups Ocean Spray® Cranberry Juice Cocktail
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped chipotle chile pepper (Canned peppers in adobe sauce works best)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cooking Directions:

  1. For Ribs: Whisk together the water, 5-spice, sugar and salt in large bowl until dissolved. Cut the racks in half and submerge fully in the liquid. Refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Line a cookie sheet with enough foil to completely cover and seal the pork ribs. Evenly spread the sliced onions on the foil and place the butter on top. Remove the ribs from the liquid and season both sides with salt and pepper. Place the ribs in one layer on top of the onions, and fold the foil over making sure to tightly seal the package. Roast undisturbed for 2 hours.
  3. Remove from oven, unwrap and baste the ribs with Spicy Craisin BBQ Sauce. Increase oven temperature to 350°F (175°C) and bake the ribs uncovered for 10 minutes until the sauce is lightly browned.
  4. Divide the smothered onions onto four plates and serve with one half rack per person.
  5. For Spicy Craisin BBQ Sauce: Coat a small saucepan with the canola oil. Over medium heat, sweat the onions and garlic until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the sugar, craisins, cranberry juice, vinegar and chipotle peppers. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Puree the sauce in a blender until very smooth, season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to a week. Makes 3 cups of sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Created by Chef Tom Berry; recipe and photograph provided courtesy of Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.