My adventures in cooking usually start in the grocery store. I either find some bean, or vegetable that I have never used or don’t use very often and decide to bring it home. The internet is a fantastic resource for inspiration when it comes to figuring out what to make for dinner. Because I don’t always find the recipe first, I’ll often only have that item plus whatever else I have in my cupboards and my grocery cart. Often a lot of substitutions need to be made to accommodate the fact that I don’t have everything that the recipe calls for, and also because I like to decrease the salt, sugar and fat as much as possible without forsaking flavor. I just don’t want to give myself clogged arteries either. I love my arteries free flowing.
It’s a fine balance if you ask me. I don’t wont want my food to taste like I am on some weird health kick that involves seaweed, dried mushrooms and onion butter. My mother was on the macrobiotic kick for a while. Anyone try the macrobiotic diet? Some of the stuff is pretty good, just like healthy food should be, but some of it was just plain awful. I’m sorry but it’s true.
I love pork ribs. LOVE. Not the leanest meat on the planet but tasty. I chose the country style ribs as a healthier option to the regular side or back ribs. How is it healthier? The loin is still attached to the back ribs lending to leaner choice by only having 1 rib per person. Of course you’ll want to compensate a little as well with some healthier side dishes.
So now I have 4 lbs of country style ribs and have no idea what to do with them. I didn’t want to lather them in fattening and sugar loaded BBQ sauce, but I wanted them to be really tender and tasty. I thought about trying this great new “heathy” bbq sauce I saw on Perry’s Plate. Country style ribs are a lot leaner so then can end up a little dry if not done properly. But then I saw these 2 recipes and thought I’d leave the BBQ sauce for chicken a little later on in the week. I was inspired by this pork rib recipe by epicurious and this recipe from gregcooks.blogspot.com.
Since my recent post was about not hating on lentils, I was inspired to use them tonight, but in a secondary role. I roasted the ribs on a bed of red cabbage and onions and added the lentils during the last 30 minutes of the cooking process. Finish it off with some fresh squeezed lemon juice and you can have your ribs and eat them too!
Country Style Pork Ribs (bone in)
- 4-5 lbs country style pork ribs
1/4 cup Hungarian smoked paprika
1Tbsp ground cumin
1Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
Mix the dry ingredients together and rub the individual ribs and loin meat. Allow to marinate between 2 to 4 hours.
Braised Onions and Cabbage with Lentils
- 2 small onions sliced into wedges
3 large garlic cloves peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 cups water, chicken stock or cider
- 4 cups chopped red cabbage
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F. Heat oil in a large pot with a tight fitting lid (A dutch oven work great for this), over medium high heat. Add the ribs and brown on all sides. Don’t crowd the meat. You may need to do this in batches. Remove the meat and set aside. Add the remaining oil and the onions. Cook the onions until tender and golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the water, stock or cider and using a wooden spoon, scrape up all the brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Add the chopped cabbage. Place the ribs on top. Add enough water to cover halfway to 3/4 of the way up on the meat. Do not cover the meat completely with liquid. Cover and bake in the oven at 350 F for 1.5 hours before starting the lentils. Continue to cook the ribs in the oven while you complete the last 2 steps.
- 1/2 cup French Puy Lentils
2 cups water
While the cabbage and ribs are in the oven put a batch of lentils on to cook. In a small pot, add 2 cups of water and the lentils on to boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for 25 minutes. Drain any extra water and reserve the lentils to add the the ribs and cabbage during the last half hour of cooking time.
Add the cooked lentils and bake for an additional 30 minutes at 375 F. Total cooking time 2.5 hours. Serve with a lemon wedge to squeeze over the entire dish. The lemon is a perfect compliment to the spices and the richness of the meat. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.