June 3, 2012

Moroccan Ribs

I have two very food adventurous children. They will normally at least try anything that I put in front of them. I have had a lot of people over the years tell me that I am lucky to have kids that are so open to new things. This is partially true. I am very happy that my kids will try almost anything, but a lot of groundwork was put into place for this to happen. First and foremost I don't keep snacks in my house. If you look into my cupboards you will find ingredients, not packaged snacks. My fridge is full of fruit, vegetables and low-fat diary. All this is part of my food plan with my kids. They will always at least try their dinner knowing that if they don't eat it mommy will not be catering to making another meal. Kids and adults eat the same meals in our house. I also don't force food in my house, if they don't eat their serving for dinner, it goes into the fridge for when they are hungry later. This doesn't mean that they don't get special treats occasionally. The emphasis is on the word 'treat'. This summer if my oldest finishes one of his workbooks, he gets gelato from the restaurant down the street.  `He knows that if he doesn't do something to earn it no gelato will be coming his way. All of this food foundation became apparent yesterday at the park. My oldest had befriended a little girl around his same age. He started talking about how much he loved all the stir-fry that his mommy made and that I was making Kung Pao Chicken for dinner. The little girl told my son that she had never eaten Chinese food and that they only ate 'American'. My son looked at the girl confused for a couple of minutes not understanding at all what she was talking about. I had to tell my son later that not everyone eats the large variety of food that we do, he told me that was 'weird'. Love the things that come out of kids mouths! Given that I attempt to expose my kids to new flavors and spices a recipe for Moroccan Ribs from the June issue of Family Circle caught my attention, and I decided to try it when I discovered it was prepared in the crockpot.
This recipe has 18 ingredients. It takes 20 minutes of prep and 6 hours on high in the crockpot and makes 4 servings. I did have to make a few modifications to the ingredients. I have never had great success with finding cheesecloth in my area and I have never seen all-spice berries, so I changed the spices. Instead of whole allspice berries and whole cloves I substituted 1/4 tsp each of ground allspice and cloves. I added the spices to the chicken broth mixture before pouring over the chicken. I always make my own chicken broth and this recipe was no exception. Since I don't salt my stock I added an extra 1/2 of salt to the recipe ingredients. For the orange juice I squeezed fresh oranges. The prices during the summer are very low on oranges and fresh squeezed tastes significantly better in recipes. My ribs were falling off the bone when they came out of the slow-cooker, so don't let the magazine photo be deceiving, your ribs will not be nicely held together like that. Mine were more chunks of ribs, which actually worked very well with the vegetable/fruit medley when spooned over the rice. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

My two boys were very impressed with this recipe. They loved the taste of the apricots and prunes and didn't even notice that I served the dish with brown rice since I had run out of couscous. I have been trying to transition my family over to brown rice and significantly reduce the amount of white rice that we consume. So far it has been going well and this dish was perfect over brown rice. My husband liked this recipe much better than the crockpot bbq ribs I tried last week. He thought the flavors on this dish were delicious and that the ribs were fall off the bone tender. I liked that this recipe was different from your run of the mill crockpot rib recipe. It's nice trying a change of pace to my normal recipe routine. Overall, an interesting new spin on a crockpot rib recipe.

For the recipe go to Moroccan Ribs. (registration required)
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