Cola and Jam Spare Ribs

Cola and Jam Spare Ribs

I’m sorry but I have to “phone this one in” this week. Its not just because spare ribs are nearly impossible to pho
tograph…but that is certainly part of it. (I really can’t wait to see how the rest of the Doristas did photographing this one! ) I wasn’t even going to make these this week and its not just because it has been freakishly busy around here…athough that is also certainly part of it. (Please forgive me Doristas but I really have missed you!) Nope, I wasn’t going to make these because I had turned my nose up at cooking anything with a can of Coca Cola as an ingredient. What cook wants to use a can of cola on a $25 rack of ribs?

Cola and Jam Spare Ribs

Cola and Jam Spare Ribs

After some considerable soul searching I decided to suspend disbelief and nausea and ventured forth to give it a whirl. After all, I had been shaking my head at those Doristas who turned up their nose at cooking with [shocker!] an egg in last week’s assignment. OK, it was a runny egg but still, there can be no more perfect food than an egg…and if it is good on toast, it is good on anything. “These projects are about trying new, fresh things!” I thought to myself. “How are they going to grow as chef’s if they don’t branch out!” Well hello! Who says I should be immune from my own wisdom?

This week I actually picked up the book and read most of it on the whole (something I think is lacking with most cook book readers these days) and realized that the genius of the Around My French Table is that for every few takes on traditional French favorites Dorie slides in something off the wall to keep it interesting for us. So we don’t forget that the French food experience isn’t always crème brûlée and beef bourguignon. This is surely one of those things that isn’t one of those things. Upon reflection, I knew I had to give it a go. I put on my dark glasses, big hat, and disguise and went to the market to buy a Coke.

The recipe calls for apricot jam but I used some mild mango chutney which I had on hand already. (You’ll see the recipe that was used for soon.) It added a great complexity when layered on the Chinese Five Spice and kept the ribs from getting too sweet. I am generally not a fan of sweet pork and duck recipes but this one will be an exception as the flavors (and ‘sweet’) did not overpower the rib taste.

Then, as if to perhaps reclaim my French cooking cred after deigning to cook with a Coca-Cola I whipped up a batch of my favorite French tarragon potato salad to go with it.

Potato Salad with Tarragon and Chives

Potato Salad with Tarragon and Chives

Potato Salad with Tarragon and Chives


Potato Salad with Tarragon and Chives

Potato Salad with Tarragon and Chives

This is what you will need:

  • 4 pounds Yukon gold or Charlotte potatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 pink shallots, sliced into very thin rings
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • A couple of handfuls torn fresh tarragon leaves and chives
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed or olive oil

This is how you make it:

  1. Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water.
  2. Salt, then bring to a boil, and cook until tender.
  3. When they are fork tender, drain, cool, and slice into a bowl.
  4. Pour over the white wine and mix until absorbed.
  5. While the potatoes cook, put the shallots into a small bowl and pour over the red wine vinegar.
  6. Leave to macerate 5 minute.
  7. Drain thoroughly.
  8. Add the shallots, tarragon, and chives to the potatoes.
  9. Stir the mustard into the oil, and pour over the potatoes.
  10. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
  11. Toss, and serve.


About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don’t know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]” means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small ‘boom’ in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a “food blog” or even myself a “food blogger”.

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  1. Oh yes, this might be fab with chutney. I didn’t dislike it but it just wasn’t anything special… And you are so right re: the photo aspect!!!

  2. Both your ribs and potato salad look quite good! And, being a Diet Coke gal, I made sure to buy just a can of regular Coke for fifty cents because I knew that the rest would go untouched.

  3. The can of cola I used goes back to the 2008 Olympics! I shared your initial apprehension, but the sticky sweet glaze made up for it.

  4. I’m impressed that you had so much to say about these Coca-Cola ribs, I for one didn’t want to make them but felt guilty feeding my husband all the runny eggs over asparagus and not making the ribs. I struggled to find any inspiration with this recipe and being afraid of pork ribs decided to make beef short ribs instead. Thanks for the potato salad recipe, makes the ribs look like yummy picnic fare;-)

  5. I was also very suspicious of cooking with Coke. But like you said, trying new things is all part of the adventure. And that potato salad looks very tasty, I may give it a try.

  6. I didn’t even bother with the Coke, but substituted it for an equally evil soft drink, Sarsaparilla! Your idea to use the mango chutney is an interesting one and something I need to try if I ever cook ribs again. Despite what you say, your photos make the meal seem thoroughly enticing!

  7. Great post, Trevor! I think your photos look better than mine! I once read that brown food is the most difficult to photograph – that seems true to me! I think the greatest challenge of our blogs is that we lack the smell-o-vision that would immediately enhance our photos!

    I love your potato salad recipe & have some tarragon growing in my garden, so I’ll have to give it a try.

    Have a great weekend!

  8. I had a hard time making this recipe too. Hopefully next week’s will be far more delightful. Looking forward to trying your potato salad though!

  9. Your Ribs look wonderful! Love your first photo of them! Potato salad with tarragon….yum! Great post!

  10. Oooh, great potato salad pairing. And I’m glad you can now relate to us runny egg avoiders 🙂

  11. Speaking of Coke in recipes, have you tried out the Co-Cola Cake…it is a classic southern chocolate cake with nuts and tiny marshmallows in it. It has Coke in the cake and in the frosting too….gross, but oh so good.

  12. You used a can of Coke, huh? Hope you have recovered from the trauma.
    That’ll teach you to mock us runny egg haters…

  13. I’m glad you and your sharp wit are back. Unfortunately, these ribs didn’t go over at my house, but glad they did at yours. The photo worked. Your tarragon potato salad sounds amazing. I have tarragon and chives in the herb garden, so I’ll try it this week.

  14. The cola reminded me of my kids grade school science experiments where we dropped a piece of meat into a glass of coke to see how long it would take to break down and I thought that maybe the coke would add to the breaking down of the rib mean and be a tenderizer…well the flavor did little for us…we had to zip up the taste with BBQ sauce. But these ribs were quite juicy and tender…we didn’t get the taste, but maybe the coke added to the tender texture??? Nice post as always and glad you are back.

  15. You’re so dang funny. Coke and anything “PIG” is a fab combo. I keep a couple cans stocked for Slow Cooker Coke Pork. Kudos to the Dorista that snuck this one in on ya

  16. Thanks for the potato salad recipe! And good job for putting on your disguise, suspending your doubts, and going for the Coke.

  17. I am a Coke addict so having a can of Coke around for this one wasn’t an issue. Your ribs and potato salad look awesome! Thanks for the bonus recipe!

  18. I hope no one recognized you when you bought that Coke! I am sure Dorie had someone deliver it to her doorstep in a brown paper bag, but you and I need to be careful about this sort of thing. Now, that potato salad of yours look amazing, and if I were to make it I don’t think I would change a thing except I might use chicken instead of potatoes, and then perhaps plop a poached egg on top of the lot. Yum!

  19. I couldn’t bring myself to buy a Coke, so I picked up a bottle of “natural” cola at the food co-op (though I don’t know how natural any of that stuff is!). We really enjoyed this dish, much more than I expected we would. Chutney sounds like a great addition to this and thanks for sharing your potato salad recipe – we’re finally getting some warm weather here and picnic food is in order.

  20. Thanks for the potato salad recipe! And good job for putting on your disguise, suspending your doubts, and going for the Coke.