Here are two dishes just made for each other! And talk about comfort food! The ribs will have a bit of a spicy kick and will be pretty much falling off the bone when they're done. The polenta is nice and creamy and cheesy. If you've never tried polenta, now's the time. This is a popular food in northern Italy and, when done right, it's silky and smooth and the perfect thing to soak up all the great juices from the meat. Just think of it as a variation on mashed potatoes. Polenta is usually made on top of the stove and needs to be stirred a lot. The great thing about this recipe is that you mix the ingredients in a baking dish, throw it in the oven, stir once, halfway through the cooking time (all of 30 minutes), and you're done! How easy is that?
Braised Country-Style Pork Ribs (serves 4) Printable Recipe
(recipe adapted from Melissa d'Arabian on Food Network)
2 tblsp. vegetable oil
3 # bone-in Country-style pork ribs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tblsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tblsp. tomato paste
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste (I used full amount. They weren't too hot. (the kids loved them)
2 Bay leaves
3 cups chicken stock
Flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped, for garnish
Heat the 2 tblsp. oil in a heavy dutch oven over medium high heat. Meanwhile, pat the ribs nice and dry and season well with the salt and pepper. (drying the meat is very important so the outside will brown nicely instead of steaming) Brown the meat on all sides and set aside. You may have to do this in batches. (don't overcrowd the meat during the browning stage.)
Add the other tblsp. of oil and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
Add the apple cider vinegar and deglaze.(stir to scrape up any bits stuck on the bottom of the pan.) Now add the red pepper flakes and bay leaves and return the meat back to the pan. Nestle them in there all snug and cozy. Finally, add the chicken stock. It should come halfway up the sides or so.
Bring everything back up to a simmer. Cover the pot and place in a preheated 350 degree oven to braise until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. (uncover for the last 1/2 hour to allow the liquid to reduce and the pork to brown up more. Serve with the creamy polenta (recipe follows) and garnish with the parsley.
Oven-Baked Creamy Polenta
(recipe adapted from May/June 2003 issue of Everyday Food)
3 cups water
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup milk
2 tblsp. butter
1 tsp. chopped fresh marjoram or 1/4 tsp. dried
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Whisk the cornmeal, salt and pepper into the water. Place in a greased baking dish with a lid and bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway. Remove from the oven and briskly whisk in the milk, butter, marjoram, and cheese until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately.