There is a cut of meat at the grocery store meat counter that is often on sale for very cheap. It looks deceptively like pork chops, but if you ever got it and tried to cook it, you might be disappointed.
This cut, called country style ribs, isn’t anything like pork chops or ribs. They are, usually, strips of pork shoulder cut to look like ribs.
This makes them perfect for a winter evening meal where you don’t mind having the oven on for a few hours.
Coming from the cut where pulled pork barbecue is made, these strips are perfect for a low and slow preparation, here a beer braise.
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The pork pairs really well with cabbage, something in high supply in the winter months. Part of why the pairing works is that cooking the two together in beer takes away some of the flavors that might scare folks away from cabbage, as the cabbage will become tender and savory with no bitter bite.
Making a braise is also a good way to use the extra carrots that are in season and to hide celery in a dish -- as you will use a mirepoix of vegetables to add flavor and textures to the dish.
After hours of braising and a quick trip to the griddle with sauce to add flavor and texture, you’ll be ready to dive into the plate and have a bundle of warm winter wishes right in your belly!
Alex and Eleta Morrison live in Macon and write a food blog, Bungalow Kitchen. Visit their blog at bungalowkitchen.wordpress.com or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BUNGALOW KITCHEN RECIPE
Braised Country Style Ribs and Cabbage
3 pounds country style ribs (about 5 pieces)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Flour for dredging
1/4 cup olive oil
1 12-ounce beer
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup vinegar
2 stalks celery
1 large carrot
1 large onion
1 head savoy cabbage
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup dried currants
4 tablespoons whole grain mustard, divided
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Green onion or parsley for garnish
Mix the oregano, salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne together in a bowl. Rub the strips on all sides and let sit for 20 minutes. Dredge in flour.
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed dutch oven or pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and heat for 2 minutes. Sear the ribs on all sides, about 3 minutes per side, and remove from the pan.
In the same pan, cook the celery, carrot and onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar to de-glaze the pan and cook an additional minute. Add the cabbage, red pepper and garlic. Stir until the cabbage begins to wilt and add currants. Add the beer and stock, heat until just boiling.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place the ribs in a large rectangular dish with room in between them. Pour the cabbage mixture over the ribs, making sure to spread evenly in the pan. With tongs, pull the ribs up to expose just the tops. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the ribs and bury into the cabbage, keeping the top exposed. Re-cover and bake and additional hour or until tender enough to pull with a fork.
Heat griddle to medium-high heat.
Pour the cooking liquid from the ribs and cabbage through a strainer into the original pan. Set the cabbage aside and cover with foil. Let sit for a few minutes and remove any fat and bits from the liquid. Heat over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Add brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of the mustard, simmer for another 10 minutes. Finish with the balsamic and whisk. Sauce should coat the back of a spoon.
Brush the sauce over all sides of ribs and place them on a griddle to sear again. When charred on the bottom, turn, reapplying sauce. Sear only on two sides.
Stir the remaining mustard into the cabbage mixture. To plate, spoon the cabbage mixture into a pasta bowl and top with a rib. Green onion or parsley can be used as garnish.