DIY Mexican feast

Neil Perry
Neil Perry's ribs; simply add tortillas and a shredded cabbage salad.
Neil Perry's ribs; simply add tortillas and a shredded cabbage salad. Photo: William Meppem

I like to have these two dishes as a feast at home. I simply add tortillas - corn or flour, whichever you prefer - guacamole and a shredded-cabbage salad. Great!

You could also add a platter of barbecued corn cobs, served with chilli-spiked mayonnaise and lime wedges.

If you want to make even more of a feast, add some marinated chicken or fish, grilled and cut. Put it all in the middle of the table and build DIY soft tacos: so yummy!


1 kg beef short ribs

2 tbsp olive oil

1 long green chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

large pinch sea salt


freshly ground white pepper

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground chilli powder

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground all-spice

400g tinned tomatoes, chopped

11/2 tbsp pickled jalapeño chillies, chopped

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

600ml chicken stock

juice of 1 fresh lime

1 bunch coriander, leaves picked and roughly chopped

Serves 4

Place the ribs in a heavy-based saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Strain, return back to saucepan and cover again with fresh water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and allow the ribs to cool in the water. Drain, place in a bowl, and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Heat the olive oil in a wide, heavy-based saucepan and sauté the green chilli, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, chilli powder, ground coriander and all-spice for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, jalapeños, brown sugar, red wine vinegar and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Pour this mixture over the ribs, toss to coat, and place on a lined baking tray. Pour over any remaining marinade.

Roast the ribs for about 1 3/4 hours, stirring occasionally, or until the meat is golden and falling from the bones. Drain off excess fat. Gently stir through the lime juice, garnish with coriander, and serve.



Chilli black beans

1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 brown onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

150g speck or pancetta, finely diced

3 long red chillies, finely chopped

1 tsp sweet paprika

large pinch cayenne pepper

400g tinned tomatoes, chopped

2 tsp brown sugar

1/4 cup coriander root, finely chopped

400g can black beans, rinsed and drained

sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

soft tortillas, to serve

Jalapeño salsa

1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapeños

3 tbsp pickled jalapeño brine

1/4 cup coriander leaves

2 green onions, roughly chopped

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 220°C. 

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the onion, garlic and speck and cook for 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Add the chilli, paprika and cayenne pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the tomato, brown sugar, coriander root, black beans, salt and pepper, and reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes until slightly thickened. Set aside and keep warm.

For the salsa, place the jalapeño, brine, coriander and green onion in a food processor and process until roughly chopped.

Serve with warm chilli black beans and soft tortillas.


Temper the chilli and spice in these recipes with the fruity lift of pure, unoaked, juicy tempranillo. The 2011 Cillar de Silos Joven Tempranillo (about $35), from one of northern central Spain's oldest family estates, refreshes the palate with brambly purple fruit and a soft, generous texture.

Photography by William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Kirsten Jenkins