I compromised everything I believe in and bought conventionally grown red bell peppers at the farmer's market. They were 4 for a dollar, and I guess if the price is right...
I've read about massa de pimentão, a Portuguese paste used to marinate meats, but I've only made my own, so I can't tell you how much this resembles the original. I've tried this with chicken and pork, and while both were good, the pork was mouthwateringly delicious. Once the meat is tender, you finish cooking it on a bed of potatoes that absorb the juices from the bell pepper sauce and the meat. It's very simple, and very good. In fact, it only uses 5 ingredients: spareribs, bell peppers, potatoes, salt, and pepper.
So when bell peppers are seasonal and cheap, buy a lot of them and make enough of this paste to freeze for later. It's incredibly simple, but it is something you have to do ahead of time. This is a wonderful, warming winter dish but the bell pepper paste gives it a bright note.
I followed the recipe (more or less) from Saveur. There were a few things I changed slightly- I cut the recipe in half, used less salt because 1/2 inch of salt between layers of bell pepper really seemed excessive, and I couldn't get the same cut of ribs. It didn't matter! I peel bell peppers because the skin is so hard to digest and these weren't organic, so I'm hoping this cut down on the pesticide residue.
Bell Pepper Paste (Massa de Pimentao)
For the Red Sauce:
8 bell peppers, peeled and sliced
Layer the bell pepper strips in a strainer with plenty of salt. Put the strainer in a bowl, cover it with a plate, and weigh it down. You can put it in the refrigerator and leave it for a couple days or leave it out on the kitchen counter overnight.
Take out the bell pepper and wipe off as much of the salt as you can. Blend it in a food processor and freeze or refrigerate.
Braised Spareribs with Potatoes (Entrecosto no Forno con Batatas)
1-1/2 to 2 cups Bell Pepper Paste
3 pounds spareribs
about 1-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced
freshly ground pepper
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!