Salvadorian-Style Red Bean & Short Rib Stew with Salsa Cruda

This is an adapted version of the Salvadorian classic, made with ingredients more readily available to American cooks. The stew is rich and saucy, and the salsa cruda (“raw sauce”) is fresh and a perfect flavor compliment.

In the original version, several hard-to-find vegetables are called for, as well as much less meat. I also add onion and garlic when cooking the chicken. Chayote is a fruit that tastes like a cross between a papaya, avocado, and squash; it’s available in my grocery store, but if you can’t find it, leave it out or substitute yellow crookneck squash.

I like to serve this stew over white rice, with one short rib per person. Give everyone a small bowl of salsa cruda for topping, and you’re all set. ¡Muy delicioso!

Red Bean Stew Closeup


  • 2 pounds short ribs
  • 3 cans undrained red beans
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 6 whole peeled garlic cloves
  •  3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 green plantains, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 1 light or dark green chayote (1 pound), pitted, peeled and cut into a 1-inch dice (peel skin with a vegetable peeler, taking off just the top layer of skin)
  • 1/2 medium green cabbage, cut into 1-inch strips
  • salt to taste

for the salsa cruda:

  • 1 pound plum (Roma) tomatoes (4-6 count), seeded and cut into cubes
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 small green pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large cooking pot; simmer 1 hour covered.

When ribs are tender, remove them along with the garlic cloves. In a fry pan, heat oil over medium heat and brown garlic and ribs on all sides (keep pot of beans simmering while you do this).

While the ribs brown, add parsley, cilantro, plantains, chayote, and salt (if needed) to beans; stir. Add ribs and garlic back to pot. Simmer 20 more minutes or until vegetables are getting tender, then add cabbage and cook another 10-15 minutes until all vegetables are done.

Make the salsa while the pot finishes cooking: combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir. Serve immediately. Enjoy!


Oven Baked Barbecue Ribs

Pork ribs.  Barbecue pork ribs.  They’re so good grilled, but what if you don’t have a grill?  Or it’s too cold outside (not a problem here often).  Or maybe you’re out of propane (a problem here often).  “We have no tv outside to watch football while I grill” is acceptable too.  Make up a reason – because these ribs are fall apart, barbecue-y perfection!

My mom made ribs one night for Sunday dinner.  For maybe the first time, she had (it’s possible my dad just bought the wrong ones…) boneless “country style” pork ribs.  She baked them low and slow and then my dad threw them on a charcoal grill for a few minutes to crisp up the outside.

Do I have to tell you they were fantastic?  Ok – they were fantastic.

One day we just finished them in the oven.  Either way these are amazing!

You really can’t mess these up – measurements are approximate.  But do have one bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce on hand for every 2-3 pounds of ribs – between basting and dipping you’ll use it!

Make sure your barbecue sauce is gluten free (we use Sweet Baby Ray’s Original  – check labels between flavors too, some might be ok while other flavors from the same brand are not!) and you’re good to go.

Oven Baked Barbecue Ribs

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (white vinegar will work too)
  • 1 bottle gluten free barbecue sauce

Seriously.  That’s it.

Note – the more ribs you pack into a pan (and the bigger your pan), the longer you’ll need to let them cook.  If you have 10 pounds of ribs, up the 45 minute blocks of time to around 90.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Line a baking pan (9×9 inch) with aluminum foil and spray lightly with nonstick spray.  Lay ribs side by side, touching lengthwise.  Pour vinegar over them, then pour on the barbecue sauce.  Cover tightly with foil – you want them to steam in there!

Bake for about 45 minutes.  Remove from oven, and remove foil cover.  Your ribs are probably sitting in an inch of juices – that’s ok for now.  Pour more barbecue sauce over the top, and recover with foil tightly.

Oven finish:

After another 45 minutes, remove foil.  Remove some of the liquid, leaving just enough to cover the bottom of the pan (1/4 inch or so).  Coat with more barbecue sauce – you want a nice thick layer this time.

Put back in the oven at 400 degrees uncovered.  Watch the ribs – you want them to start to brown, which could take 15-30 minutes more depending on your oven.

When browned, remove from oven and cover loosely with foil.  Allow to sit 10 minutes.

Grill finish:

Grill cooked ribs over high heat until browed to your liking.

Serve with more barbecue sauce for dipping.  Enjoy!