Everytime Bebe came over knocking on my door and asked for a cup, and then I knew she made apple soup. The recipe goes after her grandma's and I have been a fan of it since living in the dorm in New York. What's special about it is that the soup is naturally flavored, together with some dates and cinnamon spice (and maybe a bit of sugar).
I didn't come up with apple soup to cook ribs until I found a recipe using apple juice that presumably highlights the sweetness from apple rather than just honey. One of the joy working in the kitchen or a lab is trying to utilize everything at hands as much as you can, and luckily if the recipe pulls off pretty good, the substitute may turn out to be your secret ingredient.
Eventually the ribs turned out okay despite the lack of sweetness, probably because the soup was not as sweet and concentrated as apple juice. I also replaced barbeque sauce with Chu Ho sauce so the ribs were not barbeque enough, but perhaps it's too much to ask for "baked" ribs. Here's the recipe modified from Tyler Florence's at Food Network.
* 1 slab (1 pound) baby back ribs (fat and lean evenly distributed)
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* Canola oil
* Chu Ho sauce (better for beef, can be replaced with barbeque sauce)
* 0.5 onion, peeled and sliced
* 2 cloves of garlic
* 2 cups Bebe's apple soup®
* 0.5 cup rice vinegar (should have decreased a bit, better with cider vinegar)
1. Season ribs with plenty of salt and pepper
2. On a pan, sear ribs on both sides over high heat with canola oil until golden brown for a few minutes per side.
3. Rest the ribs in a baker, pour in the apple soup and rice vinegar. I put in onion and garlic at this time, but I think it's redundant.
4. Cover with foil, place in the oven and braise for 1.5 hour over 350 degrees F
5. Remove the soup and brush the ribs with sauce and honey, then place back to over and bake for 20 minutes. Voilà~