Tag Archives: Braise

Braised Pork Chops with Creamy Cabbage

Braised Pork Chops with Creamy Cabbage

Braised Pork Chops with Creamy Cabbage

It feels like we have been gone for a long, long time.  The winter has overtaken us… beat us into submission and stolen our kitchen creativity.  Sometimes, I dream about vegetables (that aren’t roots) and days when we can pick blueberries and eat fresh tomatoes.  Plus, things have been mighty busy around the wicked whisk household.  Of course, all of these thoughts are really just excuses for not blogging lately.  There are still plenty of delicious winter cooking options out there.

Local pork chops

Local pork chops

Take this dish, a slow braise of local pork and in-season cabbage.  Braising is a wonderful winter cooking technique.   Since you are in the house for long periods of time, you don’t mind having the oven on and cooking something for hours.  Meats get so tender that they practically melt in your mouth.  Most of the cooking work is done at the beginning. And braising is very forgiving.  If something simmers for an extra 20 minutes, it’s only going to be more delicious.  It helps build in a little buffer for the spouse that leaves the office late or gets caught in traffic on the way home.

Cabbage and the flavor

Cabbage and the flavor

Pork chops and cabbage are a wonderful, soul warming pairing.  The chops are browned first to give them a nice depth of flavor.  The cabbage is cooked with wine, mustard seeds, and fennel seeds before the two components are simmered together to let their flavors mingle.  While the pork chops are resting, the cabbage is finished with some heavy cream. You will be disappointed when there are no leftovers.

Browned chops

Browned chops

Braised Pork Chops with Creamy Cabbage

Adapted from All About Braising

Ingredients:

2 thick cut pork chops, about 2 1/4 lbs total

all-purpose flour, for dredging

3 tbls extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbls butter

1 tsp caraway seeds

1 tsp yellow mustard seeds

2 medium shallots

1/2 small head green cabbage

1/2 cup dry white wine

2/3 cup water

1 tbls cider vinegar

1 small chicken bouillon cube, crushed

1/4 cup heavy cream

To Make:

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides. Dredge each chop in flour, tapping to knock off the excess.  Add the extra-virgin olive oil to a large pot or Dutch oven(with a lid) that has been heated on the stove top over medium high heat.  Brown the pork chops for 4 minutes on each side.  Remove the pork chops to a plate.  Add in the butter and wait until melted.  Add in the caraway seeds and mustard seeds.  The mustard seeds will pop everywhere, be careful!  Stir frequently for about 1 minute while dodging the flying mustard seeds.  Add in the shallot and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often.  Add in the white wine and boil for a few minutes.  Add in the cabbage cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes.  The cabbage should be wilted, but not completely limp.

Add the water, the bouillon cube, and the cider vinegar.  Stir until everything is combined.  Place the browned pork chops on top of the cabbage, pouring in any juices that have accumulated on the plate.  Put the lid on the pot and reduce the heat until the liquid gently simmers. Let it cook for 30 minutes, turning once, or until the pork chops are cooked through.

Remove the pork chops to either a cutting board or their final destination plates.  Cover with foil so they stay warm while they rest.  Stir in the cream and boil for about 5 minutes.

To Serve:

Serve immediately.  Serves about 4.

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Filed under Dinner, Meat, Recipes, Vegetables

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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Filed under Meat, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables