How can something so simple taste so darned good? It’s a question I ask myself on many occasions and it was repeated last night when this braised pork dish came out of the oven.
Another fabulous dish from one of my favorite sources, Idaho a la Carte, I made several changes to the recipe including substituting lovely meaty boneless country style pork ribs for the pork loin suggested, purely as an excuse to enjoy the aroma coming from the Dutch oven. I don’t know about you, but I happen to think anticipation’s about 90 percent of the enjoyment.
I seasoned the ribs with plenty of salt, pepper and dried thyme, then dredged them in flour and browned them well before adding sliced onion and smashed garlic to the pot. Finished with a combination of apple juice and chicken stock, the covered pot hit the oven for 1-1/4 hours before I added dried cranberries – dried instead of fresh or frozen because they’re almost impossible to find this time of year.
The uncovered pot hit the oven for another 20 minutes so the sauce could reduce to a perfect consistency and meanwhile I steamed some tiny red potatoes and lovely little onions we picked up at the Newport Farmer’s Market. Finished with a simple white sauce flavored with fresh dill, kosher salt and lots of black pepper, it was on the plate and down the hatch before you could say “delectably delightfully delicious”.
Granted the potatoes and onions would have paired better with a hunk of salmon or halibut and rice or plain old mashed spuds might be a better side with the braised pork because the sauce is just about to die for, but it was all good. Who can resist fresh produce! After all, there’s nothing like down home comfort food after a hard day at the beach.
Braised Country Style Pork Ribs with Cranberries and Cider Inspired by Idaho A la Carte Cookbook
2 pounds boneless pork country style ribs, trimmed of excess fat
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and coarse ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, peeled, halved and sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 cup low sodium chicken stock
1 cup apple cider or apple juice (preferably unfiltered)
1 cup dried cranberries
Heat vegetable oil and butter in large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Preheat oven to 350. Cut ribs in half and season liberally on all sides with salt, pepper and dried thyme. Dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Brown well on all sides. Move to a platter when ribs are browned, lower heat to medium and add onions and garlic to the pot. Sauté until onions begin to soften. Add chicken stock and stir to release any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Return ribs to the pot along with any accumulated juices and add apple cider or juice. Bring to a simmer, cover pot and place in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until ribs are fork tender. Uncover pot and stir in dried cranberries. Return pot to the oven and cook uncovered for 20 minutes or until sauce is reduced to desired consistency. Makes 4 servings.