BRAISED PORK WITH HARD CIDER, APPLES AND TURNIPS
Before I lived on a farm, I had no idea what country-style pork ribs were; they aren’t actually ribs at all, but rather thick strips of boneless pork shoulder. The first few times I cooked them, I tried pan-frying them and they turned out pretty dry. Now that I have figured out that they’re tender and delicious when braised, they’re my favorite cut of pork. This “low-and-slow” method also works really well for pork or lamb shanks, and even lamb shoulder chops, another of my favorite cuts. Most recipes for braised meat are light on the vegetables, but this recipe has enough for a complete one-pot meal.
1 tablespoon olive oil, duck or bacon fat
2½-3 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs
Sea salt, to taste
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 pound carrots, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces
1 medium bulb celeriac (or 3 sticks celery), peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
½ cup local dry hard cider
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 green apples, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 turnips (hakurei are my favorite), cut into 1-inch chunks
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken broth
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 350° F. Pat the ribs dry and lightly salt them all over. In a braising pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil or fat over medium- high heat. Sear the pork on both sides, working in batches as needed. Remove the pork to a plate and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, carrots and celeriac to the pan; sauté for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cider and deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits, then add the cumin, red pepper flakes, tomato paste, apples, turnips and bay leaves to the pan and stir well. Nestle the pork into the vegetables and pour over the chicken broth.
Cover the pot and place in the oven for 2 hours, removing the cover during the last 30 minutes to allow some of the moisture to evaporate and the meat to brown.
Remove from oven, add more salt and pepper to taste and garnish with the parsley before serving.
DIANA RODGERS, RD, LDN, NTP is a “real food” nutritionist and writer living on a working organic farm in Carlisle, Massachusetts. She runs a clinical nutrition practice, and speaks internationally about the intersection of food, sustainability, animal welfare and social justice. She can be found at sustainabledish.com.