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Sticky Chinese-Style Spareribs
From Hungry Monkey, by Matthew Amster-Burton

Total Time: 8 hours, mostly unattended
Equipment required: Slow cooker

I prefer to eat spareribs that have been scrupulously trimmed, with the breastbone and the floppy section (the skirt) removed. Sometimes this is called St. Louis–style trim. If your butcher won't do this for you, find an instructional video on YouTube. There's a lot of meat in the skirt, which can be braised with a can of tomatoes – in the slow cooker, if you like – to make pasta sauce.

Kids can measure rock sugar and sniff star anise, and if they're ready for liquid measures, let them measure the liquid ingredients. Scallions are hard to cut all the way through and are therefore not ideal for learning knife skills.

Ingredients:

1 rack spareribs (about 3-1/2 pounds), trimmed and cut into individual ribs
1-inch piece of ginger, sliced thin
1 bunch scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 star anise
1/4 cup rock sugar or 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Instructions:

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low heat 7 to 8 hours or until the meat is very tender.

Note: Rock sugar is crystallized sugar similar to rock candy, sold in Asian groceries. It comes in irregular light-brown pieces or in gem-shaped clear rocks, and it may come in an opaque box so you can't tell which you're getting. Luckily, either is fine.

Yield: Serves 4

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