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Norwegian Christmas in the UK 2007

Christmas rib roast with cloves

Ribbe has a special position in Norway, something almost as sacred as the Thanksgiving turkey to Americans. More Norwegians eat pork rib roast than any other Christmas food, and for them a Christmas without it would be unthinkable. Beer and aquavit are the traditional drinks to accompany this dish.

Christmas rib roast with cloves
Norwegian: RIBBE - Serves 6

2 kg /4 lbs piece of middle belly of pork, with rind and fat, bones cut at 2-3-inch intervals (ask the butcher to do this and to score the rind for you)
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon ground ginger
A handful of whole cloves
1 kg /2 lbs potatoes, quartered
½ kg /1 lb onions, quartered
1 orange

1. Place the meat skin-side up on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut through the rind and fat to make a crisscross pattern of 1-inch squares (if the butcher hasn’t already done this). Rub the meat with the salt and pepper.
2. Place the meat in a roasting pan. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice over the meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 400°F. Place the meat fat side down in the roasting pan.
4. Insert the sage between the cut ribs. Turn the meat skin side up. Insert cloves into the crosses.
5.  Cover the roast with foil. Place the roasting pan in the middle of the oven and roast for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 180°C/ 350°F. Remove the foil. Remove the meat from the pan and add potatoes and onions to the pan, making a foundation for the meat. Return the meat to the pan and place in the oven, roast for about 1 hour.
6. Increase the heat to 200-210°C /400°-425°F and roast for about 20 minutes longer under frequent surveillance to produce a good crackling. If your oven has a grill you can use it, but be very careful that the meat doesn't burn. It is difficult to give the exact time for the crackling process, since that depends on the intensity of heat in your oven. If there is no sign of crackling after 10 minutes, gradually turn the heat up to 225°C/ 450°F. The crackling will be superb if it looks as if the rind is boiling and the fatty squares have started to separate. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
7. Cut the meat into 2-rib sections and place on serving plates. The meat looks nice served with the cloves, but be advised that they are still quite strong-tasting.
8. Serve with the roasted onions and potatoes (or boiled potatoes), chippolata sausages, pork meatballs, red cabbage or surkål or Brussels sprouts, French beans, and cranberry sauce or tyttebærsyltetøy. 

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More Norwegians eat pork rib roast than any other Christmas food

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