It takes about five pomegranates to make one cup of juice, and it takes six cups of juice to make the pomegranate molasses from Paula Wolfert's "The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean" that's used in this dish. Wolfert recommends buying the Cortas brand, which is widely available in local Middle Eastern markets. The combination of molasses and Middle Eastern red pepper sauce makes a terrific marinade for meats, as Michelle Huneven found with this recipe for ribs. It's very tart, but soon enough the tartness proves addictive.
6 cups fresh or bottled pomegranate juice 1 cup sugar 1 cup lemon juice Place pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice in non-reactive saucepan over high heat and slowly reduce by boiling to 2 cups. Cool, bottle and refrigerate. Makes 2 cups.
2 racks of lamb or pork back ribs, approximately 1 pound each, cut into separate rib pieces Water 1 stick cinnamon, optional 5 cloves, optional 3 to 5 whole allspice, optional 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses 1/4 cup red pepper sauce 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice Salt Freshly ground pepper
Place ribs in stockpot. Cover with water, add cinnamon, cloves and allspice and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour.
Combine pomegranate molasses, red pepper sauce, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Remove ribs from water, drain and place in a roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Brush on pomegranate sauce. Bake at 300 degrees, basting every 20 minutes or so until caramelized but not dry, about 1 hour.
Makes 2 servings for dinner, 4 or more as an appetizer.