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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Braised Country Style Pork Ribs

Ready to Serve
I caught the tail-end of a Today Show segment where Melissa d'Arabian, of "Ten Dollar Dinners" on Food Network, was preparing Braised Country Style Pork Ribs over some polenta.  She was apparently going too slow for the hosts who were hurrying her along but were delaying her by asking repeatedly "are you SURE you can make this for $10?  Where are you getting this meat?  Is it black market meat?  Stuff like that.  I admit I thought the same thing, because those were some meaty looking country pork ribs!  The dish also looked mouth watering delicious.  I'm all for an inexpensive recipe...and she was preparing the creamy polenta via her slow cooker - interesting technique...so I thought I'd search down the recipes...for "consideration".

I looked on Food Network and didn't find them there, so I went to TODAY on msnbc and did find them there.  The recipes also included a side dish of Roasted Balsamic Onions which didn't appear on the part of the segment I saw.  When I re-watched it on the linked video player, I saw the onions sitting in front of the slow cooker.  It sounds good...and simple...so I'm going to make the whole shebang for dinner!

I found some beautiful meaty country pork ribs at Sam's Club in Brownsville...for $1.88/pound!!!  So, I guess she is serious...you probably CAN make this meal for under $10 (well, right at $10...maybe).  I'm not going to cost out 1 stalk of celery, 1 carrot... and all the bits and pieces.  Whatever!  Meat that is $1.88/pound is a cheap dinner!  (of course it is only worth the price if it actually tastes good)

Country Pork Ribs - Salt and Peppered - Ready to Brown
Since I know that country style pork ribs are a cut from the pork loin - the blade end of this section - they are meaty, yet fatty; bone-in or boneless are usually available at the store...I felt certain they would be tasty.  Braising them would ensure fall-apart tenderness.  The package I got at Sam's Club were bone in (mostly - altho there were a couple of boneless)...Melissa's recipe called for 3 pounds to feed 4 people.  I'm cutting back to 4 ribs - which were about 2 1/2 pounds total.  I'll leave all the rest of the ingredients the same since they are for the braising liquid - won't mess with a proven recipe since I've not made it before.

So, let's get rolling on the prep work.

Knocked out the prep work for the ribs...taking a break now :-)

BRAISED COUNTRY STYLE PORK RIBS
by Melissa d'Arabian

Ingredients:

3 pounds bone-in country style pork ribs (I used 4 ribs totalling 2 1/2 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (I skipped this)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Pat the ribs dry and season with salt and pepper.
Browned and removed from pan
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and brown the ribs on all sides, working in batches if needed.
Remove the ribs and set aside.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the Dutch oven and reduce the heat to medium.
Add the onion, carrots, celery, salt and pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

Mirepoix in the pan


Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, to remove the raw flavor, about 3 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with the cider vinegar, and then add the red pepper flakes and bay leaves.

Add the ribs back to the pan and add enough stock to reach halfway up the sides of the ribs.  Bring the pan to simmer, cover, and place in the oven.
Ready to add browned ribs back to pan

Braise until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
During the last 1/2 hour, uncover to allow the liquid to reduce and the pork to brown.

Serve the ribs with creamy polenta, spooning the sauce on top, and garnishing with parsley.

So, here are a few of my thoughts...

  • This is not a 30 minute meal - obviously. 
  • This is a Sunday Dinner...even if it is an inexpensive meat, it tastes fabulous. 
  • The pork, braised in the tomato paste, puts off a lot of red looking grease.  I drained a LOT of it before serving...but it really showed up around the polenta.  It actually tasted pretty good mixed into the polenta, 'cause we know "pork fat rules!" (thanks for that Emeril)
  • I cooked the dish almost 2 hours...the last 30 minutes uncovered.  Mostly because I forgot to bring it up to simmer after I put the pork ribs back into the veg mix...so I wanted to make sure it got the full cook time.
  • From start to finish, including prep and cooking time, this took me almost 4 hours.  I have to say, I think it was worth it!
The picky teen got one tiny spoonful "to try"...and he ended up eating two large helpings.  He gave it an 8.3 out of a 1-10 system.  My husband gave it a 8.9 so I think everyone was pretty happy with the labor of love.

The best part was the polenta.  See tomorrow's post for that recipe!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!StumbleUpon

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