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Bourbon-glazed Baby Back Ribs with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

Special occasions mean we get to treat ourselves to something normally out of our budget. This Christmas, that special something was a rack of baby back ribs. I have to say, I’ve never been a fan of pork, but this asian-inspired bourbon glaze would make anything taste delicious.

And compared to the all day endeavor that was thanksgiving, this seemed like a breeze. Really. You would think (or I would, at least) that cooking ribs is complicated. In reality, it’s easier than turkey (no temperature taking required).

Serve these ribs with the surprising wasabi mashed potatoes and some asparagus steamed and quickly seared in sesame oil, and you have yourself a delicious, albeit non-traditional, Christmas dinner. Now just wait until I post dessert…

Bourbon-glazed Baby Back Ribs with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

We increased the cooking time on these to 90 minutes, with a slightly lower temperature than the original.

Bourbon-glazed Baby Back Ribs

Makes 6 servings. Recipe from Epicurious.

Ingredients
5 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup bourbon
1 1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon plum sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon hot chili paste or hot sauce (we used sriracha)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 2 1/4- to 2 1/2-pound racks baby back pork ribs
1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice

Directions
To make glaze, whisk first 11 ingredients in small bowl. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Place long sheet of heavy-duty foil on each of 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Sprinkle rib racks on all sides with salt and pepper. Place 1 rib rack on each foil sheet. Fold up sides of each foil sheet around rib rack to form boat-like shape. Pour 1/2 cup pineapple juice over each rib rack. Fold up foil to seal packets. Bake until ribs are tender, about 90 minutes. Remove ribs from foil packets. Transfer to roasting pan; pour any juices from foil over and cool. These can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Cut each rib rack in half. Grill until browned, brushing frequently with glaze and turning often, about 10 minutes. For the grill-less among us (ourselves included), broil the ribs for 4-5 minutes per side, until golden. Cut racks between bones into ribs.

Wasabi and Green Onion Mashed Potatoes

Makes 8 servings. Recipe from Epicurious.

Ingredients
3 pounds Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 tablespoons wasabi paste (horseradish paste)
2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
1 cup chopped green onions

Directions
Bring potatoes to boil in large pot of water. Reduce heat to medium; cook until tender, about 17 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, bring cream, butter, and wasabi paste to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until butter melts. Season with salt and pepper. Keep hot. Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat; add green onions and sauté until wilted, about 3 minutes. Set aside. Using potato masher in same large pot or ricer, mash potatoes. Stir in hot cream mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in green onions. Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in microwave, stirring occasionally.

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