Mouth-watering braised spareribs with homemade sauerkraut, cauliflower "mashed potatoes" AKA cauliflower faux potatoes, and one of the season's last dense, sweet, and colorful San Marzano tomatoes.
I'm not sure you could buy this combo anywhere for any price. See below for faux potatoes recipe and how to braise spareribs with sauerkraut.
I remember dark, cold winter days with dankness seeping up from the cellar, where laundry (washed in a wringer/washer) took three days to dry. Pork and sauerkraut simmering on the stove made everything right. As a child, I wasn't shy about sucking the marrow noisily from pork ribs and lapping up the sauerkraut juice when eagle-eyed mom wasn't hovering. I didn't know sauerkraut was good for you. I only knew that when cooked for hours with pork and served with richly buttered mashed potatoes, it was heavenly. But then I grew up with German/Scandavian heritage in the deep midwest where meat, potatoes, and kraut were winter staples. My parents didn't make their own kraut, but they sure loved whatever they bought. I have no idea if it was teeming with lovely bacteria. I only know that when it was on the table, words were not spoken and slurping was acceptable.
When PK and I first grew a garden back in the 1970s, cabbage was one of our first crops, and making kraut, one of our first projects. Somehow with kids, jobs, etc. etc. kraut-from-scratch disappeared from our to-do list. This year, however, it made a comeback, spurred, in part, by the fact that fresh kraut resides in small jars with huge prices in the millionaires-only section of supermarkets. Like $6-8 bucks for a pint? Canned kraut is cheap, but canning zaps the fermentation benefits.
Sauerkraut, and other fermented veggies, are rich sources of bacteria advantageous to our guts and other parts. You can look it up. Fermented grapes make wine, which everyone knows is a magic elixir, fermented milk/cream, makes yogurt, a gut boon if there ever was one, and fermented cabbage makes sauerkraut, a delectable tangy treat that will have you thumping your chest. You should see PK's chest from all that thumping. Bruised and swollen!
Sauerkraut is a low-carb treat with only 6 carbs per cup. That makes for a hearty meal of kraut, pork ribs and faux mashed cauliflower potatoes at only around 12-15 carbs per heaping plate.
|It all starts with volleyball-sized cabbages, which we started from seed in the spring and harvested in July.|
|We weighed the cabbages and sliced them into thin rounds with a super-sharp knife.|
A Mercer. Thank you, Lanny. Then we salted the shredded cabbage with non iodized salt.
How-to link for making sauerkraut follows.
|Nearly four months later, I'm removing fermented kraut into cold-storage jars.|
|It's perfect sauerkraut. Crunchy and tart.|
|A half gallon on top, and a gallon on the bottom in our garage refrigerator.|
|Our outside "kitchen" for messy and/or super-heated projects. Here PK slices cabbage for fermenting in a crock while our Four Wheel camper glowers in the background wondering when the hell we'll go camping!|
Braised spareribs and sauerkraut
1 rack of spareribs
half of a large onion
one medium-sized apple
1 quart (or more) fresh kraut
Cover the spareribs with foil and bake at 275 for an hour. Drain the fat and juices and set aside. Cut the ribs apart and brown in a large skillet. When browned, add half of a large chopped onion and a cored apple cut into pieces. Cook and stir for a few minutes, then dump the kraut into the pan and cover. (Add the juice back from the fat and juice drained after roasting the ribs.)
Cook covered over low/medium heat until the rib meat is falling-apart tender. Remove the cover if liquid is too much.
Serve with mashed potatoes or, if you're a low carber, cauliflower faux mashed potatoes.
Cauliflower faux mashed potatoes
1 head cauliflower cut into flowerets
half and half or whipping cream
Cut the cauliflower into pieces. Place into a pot and cover with lightly salted water. Boil until tender.
Remove from heat and drain thoroughly. Apply butter in the quantity that pleases you. Ditto salt.
Drizzle with half and half or whipping cream. Smash with a fork or an immersion blender. Add cream to desired consistency.
To ramp it up a notch, scoop into an oven-proof pan, mix in a dollop of sour cream, and bake at 350 for a half hour. Remove from oven, cover with grated cheese, and return to oven for five minutes.