Baby Back Rib and Fava Bean Paella

This update to classic Spanish paella is just what winter calls for.

  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon Spanish pimenton or paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 12 baby back pork ribs, about 3 pounds, separated
  • For the paella:
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon Spanish pimenton
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, medium dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 red pepper, fine dice
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 16-ounce package dried fava beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 tablespoon Spanish pimenton or paprika
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups Spanish medium-grain rice

To prepare the ribs:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Combine the brown sugar, salt, oregano, red pepper flakes, pimenton and cumin in a bowl. Arrange the ribs in a deep baking dish, and sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the ribs. Using your fingers, rub the mixture into the ribs until they are well coated.
Place the ribs in the pre-heated oven, and roast until browned, about 40–45 minutes.

To prepare the paella:
In a small saucepan, cover the sliced carrots with water. Set the pan over medium heat and bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, and cook until softened but still retaining structure, about 5–7 minutes. Drain the water and purée the carrots in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in the pimenton.

Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch paella pan set over a medium flame. Add the onion and garlic and cook until lightly browned and softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add the red pepper, tomatoes and drained, pre-soaked fava beans to the pan. Stir until the pepper softens, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice and the carrot purée, then turn the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 20 minutes longer, until almost all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.

Arrange the cooked baby back ribs on top of the paella so the ribs’ sides are partially covered with rice. Remove the pan from stove and place in the 350°F oven for 7–10 minutes, until the ribs are re-heated.

Published on July 13, 2015
About the Author
Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen
Entertaining and Lifestyle Editors

Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen are Wine Enthusiast's Entertaining and Lifestyle Editors. DeSimone tastes wine from Israel and the Mediterranean Basin, while Jenssen tastes wine from Eastern Europe, including the former the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Both co-authored Wines of California, Wines of the Southern Hemisphere, and The Fire Island Cookbook. Wine educators and presenters, both gentlemen serve as frequent guests on national and local television. Email:

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