Here's the recipe I used - simmering the ribs first makes the meat tender and moist, and means that you can roast them quickly at a very high temperature so that the meat stays moist while the sauce caramelises. In barbecue season, it's a great way to prepare ribs for the barbecue too, as there's no danger of accidentally serving undercooked meat.
1 sheet meaty pork spare ribs (my small sheet of ribs served 2)1 carrot
2 shallots or small onions
thumb size knob of ginger
1 star anise
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
1 tsp black peppercorns
Separate the ribs, leaving plenty meat on each. Slice all veg roughly (no need to peel) and place in a large pan with the ribs and spices and enough water to cover everything. Bring slowly to the boil then simmer for 1 hour. Allow ribs to cool in the liquid, then remove them to a large bowl.
Strain the liquid, and when completely cold remove any fat from the surface and keep, or freeze in small containers, to use in Chinese dishes, especially soups and stir fries.
While the ribs are cooling, make the sauce – mix together:
1 tbs balsamic vinegar1 tbs brown sauce
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs light soy sauce
2 tbs honey (or agave nectar or Sweet Freedom)
3 tbs tomato ketchup
Whisk to blend thoroughly then pour over the ribs, turning well to make sure they are well coated. Allow to stand for at least an hour, more if possible, turning several times in the sauce.
Line a large roasting tin with Baco foil, with the non-stick coating facing upwards. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/425F/gas mark 7. Tip the ribs and sauce into the lined tin, turning well in the sauce, and roast for 30 minutes, turning once and brushing any remaining sauce over them.
I served them with rice and stir-fired vegetables but they would go equally well with jacket potatoes, coleslaw and a green salad.
The ribs lifted away beautifully from the caramelised sauce left on the foil, and the roasting tin was left looking as if it had never been used!