Friday, March 12, 2010
Recipe # 50 - Stirring the Pot: Country Spare Ribs and Mustard Greens Braised in Apple Cider
I took a very long break in my quest to cook through Tyler Florence's Stirring the Pot. In fact, the last recipe I made from the book was back in mid-November. Feeling guilty, I dug out my rather beaten up copy of Stirring the Pot and resolved to get started again. With the onset of spring, I wanted to try and bang out some of the wintery dishes before the weather convinced me otherwise. Within the next week or so I will be bringing you some of Tyler's more heartier dishes, both this recipe for Country Spare Ribs and Mustard Greens Braised in Apple Cider AND Slow-Roasted Beef Ribs with Mushroom Stroganoff. Spring has already come to Kentucky, but I know it won't hurt my husband's feelings to eat such hearty and meaty meals.
Getting back into the kitchen with Tyler means a few things. First of all, it means searching for hard to find ingredients. Some of you are lucky to live in large cities with wonderful and bountiful grocery stores. I'm not so lucky. For me, this means a trip to Lexington and running around to different stores. For example, there are no beef short ribs or 4-pound pork rib roasts here in Georgetown. So, I hightailed it to the butcher in Lexington and was able to get both cuts of meat. The pork rib roast is really 4 thick pork chops attached to the bone in a roast-style. I've never cooked the pork rib roast before, so I was excited to get started.
The other part about getting back into the kitchen with Tyler is dirty dishes, lots of dirty dishes. I really love Tyler and his recipes, but I'm not excited about the prospect of doing tons and tons of dishes. There is really nothing more daunting in the kitchen than a sink overflowing with dirty dishes.
The pork rib roast was really easy to prepare and really only required a small amount of looking after. The pork is braised for a total of three hours, largely unattended, save for the every half hour when you baste. The pork, which Tyler refers to as country spare ribs is braised in apple juice, apple cider vinegar, mustard greens, garlic and thyme for 2 and a half hours covered, basting every half hour. After two and a half hours, the cover is removed and the meat is cooked until the surface caramelizes and the liquid reduces. A gravy is made by squeezing the garlic pulp into a blender along with the juices from the braising liquid. The pork is served on top of the greens and mashed potatoes. The recipe can be found HERE on Tyler's blog.
Notes/Results: I'm really glad this recipe pushed me to buy and cook with the pork rib roast. I really liked this cut of meat. I have to say that I wasn't too crazy about Tyler's recipe though. Even though the meat was braised and the directions were followed to the letter, the pork ended up overcooked and dry. Also, in Tyler's book, the pork has a glossy sheen to it, almost like it is covered in a barbecue sauce. My pork never got that caramelized, nor did the sauce look like a barbecue sauce. Not sure what happened there. I will buy this cut of meat again, but will probably braise it in a different liquid or coat the pork in some more savory seasonings. Neither me or my husband cared much for the sweetness that the apple juice lent to the pork. The pictures didn't turn out too well. The pork was rather pale looking and so were the mashed potatoes. The braising liquid, which was pureed, was also on the clear side, which didn't really add any color to the dish.
Overall, it was a learning experience. I was pretty sure I would love this cut of meat and I was right. I never like it when a recipe doesn't work out, but I do like learning about what would work. I'll chalk it up to a learning experience.