Friday, February 29, 2008



This is a perfect winter dish that smells up the house deliciously. It's one I've been evolving over several years and perfected only recently. It started as a compromise: I like cabbage in all its forms; Steve likes cabbage as saurkraut (and maybe coleslaw) but not much else. An old friend who was from New Orleans taught me about Choucroƻte Garni many years ago, and I liked it, but found it was a tremendously tedious, not to mention expensive, concoction to pull off. The ideas from that experience form the basis for this. And I think it's better. A substantial addition of sweet flavors and long, low-temperature cooking are key. You'll think you're cooking a ton of food when you assemble this, but the vegetables cook down and become buttery.

You can use pork spareribs, but I've found the meaty, country-style ribs take up less room and are easier to eat. And some people like anise with saurkraut; we don't, but add it if you do. Serve with egg noodles if desired.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

4 country-style pork ribs
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

1 1/2 lbs fresh saurkraut (from the refrigerated section, not canned)
3 large carrots, cut into fat rounds
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled or unpeeled, chopped into good-size chunks
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 large sweet but firm apples, such as Fuji, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp. frozen apple juice concentrate
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large, oven-proof kettle or dutch oven over high heat. Place seasoned ribs in hot oil and sear until thoroughly crusted, 5-7 minutes per side. Remove ribs from kettle and set aside. Remove kettle from heat.

Place saurkraut in strainer in sink, drain and rinse thoroughly. Put drained saurkraut and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl and toss with hands to mix completely. Place half of mixed vegetables in bottom of kettle, layer seared ribs over vegetables (in single layer if you have room), then place remaining vegetables over ribs. Cover and heat over medium flame until simmering, then move covered kettle immediately to preheated oven. Bake 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until cabbage and other vegetables are thoroughly softened. After about 2 hours the aroma coming from your oven will start saying, "I'm done!" Give it at least another half hour after that.

Remove from oven, uncover, and let settle 15 minutes before serving.


Anonymous said...

I can already taste it. Will try for Sunday dinner. Thanks.

Cuidado said...

My first mother-in-law from upstate NY made roast pork with saurkraut that was to die for.I'm having scallops but now want your dish.