Braised Spare Ribs with Brussel Sprouts

Braised Spare Ribs with Brussel Sprouts

Braised Spare Ribs with Brussel Sprouts

On Monday we picked up the last of our summer CSA distributions.  This is always a bittersweet time for me.  Sweet because I am looking forward to winter veggies like carrots, turnips, and leeks.  Bitter because this means that I won’t get to eat tasty, fresh tomatoes until next August!

As usual, we got a HUGE array of veggies (more than any family our size can rightfully eat in three weeks) including these guys:

Who knew brussel sprouts grew on big stalks

Who knew brussel sprouts grew on big stalks!

I am little embarrassed to admit it, but I had no idea what brussel sprouts looked like when they were growing.  I have only ever seen them in little plastic packages at the supermarket.  I can’t believe how large the stalks are.  Once the sprouts were removed, Marc had to use a cleaver to trim the stalks so they have any hope of composting in the next two years.

With my freshly trimmed sprouts in hand, I went looking for a way to cook them.  Brussel sprouts are vegetables that do not usually make it into our typical cooking repertoire so some research was in order.  I found a simple and interesting recipe in the Joy of Cooking and we decided to pair the sprouts with some country-style spare ribs we had in the freezer.  The sprouts were cooked in garlic butter while the ribs were brined, browned, and then slowly braised in the oven with stock and vegetables.  We then reduced the braising liquid to make a luscious sauce to top the ribs.

Browning the Pork

Browning the Pork

Veggies for the Braise

Veggies for the Braise

 

 

 

 

 

The result was (wicked) awesome.  The sprouts were sweet and delicious – even our picky toddler ate hers.  The spare ribs were the most tender and juicy I have ever had (I usually find them dry and somewhat tough).  This is a must make.

Brussel Sprouts Cockaigne

Recipe minimally modified from The Joy of Cooking

Ingredients:

12 Brussel Sprouts, rinsed, patted dry, and cut in half lengthwise

1 1/2 tbls butter

1 1/2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Salt, pepper, and freshly grated parmesan cheese

To Make:

In a medium skillet (make sure you have a lid), warm the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat.  Once the butter is melted, add the crushed garlic cloves and cook, stirring, until just beginning to brown.  Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and discard.  Place the sprouts cut side down in the garlic butter mixture.  Cover and cook over low heat until tender, 15-20 minutes.

To Serve:

Arrange the sprouts on a plate, drizzle with any remaining butter, and top with salt, pepper, and grated parmesan cheese.  Serves 2 as a side dish. 

Braised Country-Style Spare Ribs

Ingredients:

For the brine

3 quarts of water

1 cup kosher salt

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tbls pickling spice

For the braise

1.25 lbs country-style pork spare ribs

2 tbls canola oil

1 small sweet red pepper, finely chopped

1 large red onion, finely chopped

2 small red skinned potatoes, finely chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons dry Sherry (the real stuff, not the cooking stuff)

2 cups chicken stock (preferably home made… we used the stock we made from smoked chickens so the finished dish had a slightly smoky flavor)

To make the brine:

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot.  Bring to a boil to ensure sugar and salt are thoroughly dissolved.  Let cool completely and chill in the fridge.  You can speed this part up by boiling only two quarts of water and add the final quart in the form of ice.  Once cool, add the pork and let sit in the brine for about 6 hours.  Do not let it go overnight or you will end up with very salty meat.

To make the braise:

Rinse and drain the pork and pat it dry, discarding the brine.  Preheat your oven to 300F degrees.  Heat the oil in an oven-proof skillet (make sure it has a lid) over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add the pork and brown on all sides, about 3 minutes per side.  Remove the pork and set aside.  In the same pan, add the vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and tender, about 8-10 minutes. 

Once the vegetables are cooked add the Sherry and cook for another minute or two, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Place the ribs (and all of their juices on the plate) back in the pan on top of the vegetables and add the chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and then cover the pan with foil, place the lid on, and put the whole thing into a 300F degree oven.  Cook for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the ribs are very tender.

Remove the pan from the oven.  Place the ribs on a plate and top with the vegetables (use a slotted spoon to get them out).  Tightly cover with foil and let it rest.  Meanwhile, boil the braising liquid over high heat until reduced to about 1/4 quarter of the original volume.  The consistency should be similar to a thin gravy.  Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.  Because we brined the pork, we found that we didn’t need any additional salt.

To serve:

Serve the pork topped with the vegetables and drizzled (or covered, depending on your preference) with the sauce.  Given the amount of meat, this could probably serve four.  However, Marc and I managed to eat all of it without too much trouble.

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4 Comments

Filed under Meat, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables

4 responses to “Braised Spare Ribs with Brussel Sprouts

  1. Katie Sasser

    Very cool site Mr. & Mrs. Marino…love the creativity. When can I come over for dinner?

    You should check out the site http://www.food52.com – I think you guys would be worthy of the contest!!

  2. Rudy

    Were going to try this tonight. Why the cover the pan with foil step before putting on the lid and going into the oven?

    • Good question Rudy…
      You cover the pan with foil because the lid alone usually is not tight fitting enough to keep all the moisture in. If the moisture escapses (as steam), then you have to interrupt the cooking to add more liquid. The foil helps keep all the steam in the pan. I hope you enjoy the dish! Post back and let us know how it was.
      Kelly

  3. Rudy

    Kelly/Marc,

    The recipie came out good. We didn’t have time to brine the pork (we used the semi-boneless rib chops we had in the fridge), so the pork could have been more tender (you could cut it with a fork, but in a stab and twist method). The recipe was really flavorful. I think next time we may try to make a goulash out of it (more potatoes and some paprika). But it was really good. Can’t wait to try another recipe.

    The only bad thing was that I haven’t cooked using a pot in the over in a while, so of course grabbed the pot by the handle and burned my hand! Good ties. Alright time to put my hand under running water again!

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