“You just can’t help yourself!”, my wife said last night, exasperated. “No sooner have you learned to cook something good, you have to screw with it until it’s no good”. This was her response to last night’s baby-back rib GOPM.
In her book, Glorious One-Pot Meals, Linda Yarnell cautions against using the method with fatty meats because the pot, even at 450F, does not get hot enough, long enough, to melt the fat and caramelize the sugars and proteins on the surface (as we do with pan browning or open baking). So I had the idea of baking the ribs first (60 minutes covered with foil and 30 minutes uncovered) before layering them in the Emile Henry. This worked out quite well, although it obviously defeats the GOPM philosophy of “one pot” (I have to scrub the large pan that’s been soaking in the sink overnight, to get off the burnt sugar from my Asian rib sauce).
My second “innovation” was to simply cut all the vegetables together and throw them in the pot in a one-layer “medley”. While it seemed like a good idea, for some strange reason (I don’t yet understand the physics behind it), the vegetables lost their crispness and turned into something of a mush.
Don’t get me wrong…the meal was quite delicious. The ribs were fall-off-the-bone, the Asian marinade had infused the rice making it appear more like a fried-rice, and the vegetables were very tasty if overly soft. “Not a re-do” to quote The Wife. I think I’ll stick to the basic plan for a while longer.