Iberico Rack in the oven

Yesterday night, I had a very nice wine tasting with friends around Italian wines. I will tell you more about the tasting later, but I want to share with you first the nice Iberico pork rack I cooked for the dinner! Mainly because, everybody from yesterday is waiting for the recipe!!!!

What is the Iberico pork? 
Iberico is a kind of pig you only can find in the South West part of Spain (and South of Portugal). This region  has a specific landscape with a unique Mediterranean forest made of oaks, the so called Dehesa. In this unique environment, for centuries, this strange pig that looks more like a wild boar than a pig is free raised and will spend several months in the mountains exercising and searching for its food.  

What does it eat? Acorns and grass!
The genetics of the Iberico, who tends to accumulate fat and filter it into its muscles and this unique feeding with natural acorns turns the Iberico meat into something amazing! A marble meat with a strong flavor of nuts that you will find especially in the most famous product from Iberico pig: Iberico ham! Dried air cured ham made in the Spanish tradition that is for sure (I tried so much hams in my ham's life!), the best ham in the world!

But let's go back to the rack in my kitchen! The fresh meat of the Iberico is getting more and more well-known and you can now also find it out of Spain, which is a very good news for me!
Forget about the pork you usually buy, it is full of water, hormones, etc,...
Iberico is natural, received a natural feeding (I do not say organic, be careful!), but the most important is that Iberico, instead of the rest, has a high infiltration of fat and present a beautiful marbled meat! Actually, we call it the Kobe pork!
It is extremely important to have this fat, because it is what gives the taste to the meat! No fat, no glory!

Now, let's see how to cook this beautiful piece!

Ingredients for 10 persons:

- 1 rack of 10 ribs of Iberico pork
- 1 kg. of potatoes
- 2 big onions
- 4 garlic cloves
- 500 gr. of small tomatoes or 10 of them
- 500 gr. of chestnuts ready to cook
- 4  stems of fresh rosemary
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
Take off the rack off the fridge around 30 minutes before cooking.
Turn on the oven at 250 Cº/ 475 F or 9.

Place the rack in a baking tray and spread some olive oil on top, on all sides. Place it on the grill of the oven for 10 minutes for each side in order that it takes some color.

After this time, and when your rack start to be golden, take off the tray of the oven and down the heat at 100 Cº/ 225 F or 1/4.
Put in the tray the garlic cloves peeled and sliced, the onions peeled and roughly sliced, then place around the rack the whole potatoes washed, the chestnuts, rosemary and the tomatoes. Add salt and pepper and a little bit of olive oil on top of all the vegetables.

Put the tray back into the oven for 2h. The meat will slowly cook and get like preserved with the the Iberico fat and olive oil. I increased again to 140ºC/ 275 F or 1 the heat of the oven for 1h. During the whole cooking, I took off the tray like 4 times, and get the gravy from the bottom of the tray on top of the meat and vegetables in order that they don´t get dry, but keep on frying and get crispy.

At the end, take off the tray, cover with some aluminum foil for 1h before service, and put it again a 100 ºC/ 225 F or 1/4 during 15 min before service.
The best way to check if you meat is ready is to check the temperature inside, that should be 70ºC.

Take out of the oven, slice the ribs and serve it in the tray if you want. My friends were really impressed by the big tray full of vegetables and the rack itself is really appealing!
The pork was perfect, the meat still a little bit kind of pale pink, but totally preserved with its own fat and was melting in your mouth! The rosemary flavor was delicate and the vegetables were totally preserved, slowly cooked, really tasty,... the tomatoes, more acid than the rest was balancing the fatty flavors of the meat.
Everybody enjoyed it!

I served the Iberico rack with a Barolo Fontanafredda Serralunga d'Alba 2006! I loved the tough structure of the Barolo, the complexity of the aromas and still the smooth of the wine. It was a great match with the fatty meat and the flavors of rosemary and tomatoes,...

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