Wet Rice with Lamb Ribs and Peas

11:30 am on 14 November 2011

Arroz Caldoso con Costillas de Cordero

When I was growing up, Mum kept a Spanish kitchen and a Spanish kitchen is not about extravagance. We ate lamb, but never fillet; we ate the ribs. While our Aussie neighbours were feeding ribs to their dogs, we were browning them off and using them to flavour our rice dishes for we knew that the closer to the bone the meat was, the sweeter it was. We proudly serve this dish at MoVida Aqui. Take the perol pan to the table and serve with bread and a bottle of aged Rioja.

(Serves 6)


  • 1.2 kg (2 lb 10 oz) lamb ribs
  • 100 ml (3 ½ fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt flakes
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 2 green capsicum (peppers), finely diced
  • 6 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and grated
  • 300 ml (10 ½  fl oz) white wine
  • 300 g (10 ½ oz) bomba rice
  • 200 g (7 oz) podded green peas


Take a sharp knife and cut the lamb ribs between each rib to make single ribs with meat on either side of the bone. Heat 80 ml (2 ½ fl oz/ 1/3 cup) oil in a 30 cm (12 inch) perol pan or large heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat and cook the ribs, in 2 batches, for 10-15 minutes or until browned all over. Season with salt while cooking. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Wipe out the pan, so that the dish does not taste too much like lamb fat, and return to medium heat. Add the remaining oil and the onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and season with a good pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until softened.

Meanwhile, bring 1.5 litres (52 fl oz) of water to the boil, then reduce to a bare simmer.

Add the tomato to the onion mixture and cook for 30 minutes or until thick and pulpy. Add the wine and increase the heat to high. Allow to bubble away for a few minutes, then reduce the heat to medium-low, return the ribs to the pan and add 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) of the hot water and simmer for 1 hour 10 minutes or until the ribs are tender. Add the remaining hot water, increase the heat to medium and bring to a steady simmer. Add the rice, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 4 minutes or until tender. The rice should just be a little past al dente but still firm to the bite. Serve straight away.

John Hawkesby’s wine match

Conde de Valdemar 2006

Penny's Hill Cracking Black 2009

From Nine To Noon

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