We’re currently in the midst of traveling around Colombia. While we’re soaking up the sun as much as we can and enjoying tropical fruits every step of the way, we know what awaits us when we return home. When we left Canada, frost had descended upon us. It was perfect stew weather. Before I left I made this pork stew and threw it in the freezer so we had something to warm us up to the fact that 6 months of winter was definately coming whether we like it or not.
Eating a whole foods paleo diet is often criticized for being expensive. We don’t compromise on the quality of our meats; we buy local, humanely raised meat 100% of the time which does make things pricey. But, have no fear, there are certainly ways you can lower your costs. This is why I like to buy ground beef, pork belly, organ meats and sausage. These meats are always cheaper than fancier cuts and very often are on sale. Stewing meats are also usually cheaper cuts of meat and they lend themselves so nicely to the slow and low cooking of fall.
Country style pork ribs are an extremely meaty (and cheap) cut of meat. They do not actually come from the rib cage of the pig but are cut from the shoulder. They come with the bone on but are mostly tough meat that requires low and slow cooking. The nice thing about cooking with the bone in is that, as the bones cook slowly, the marrow (inside of the bone) breaks down and enriches the sauce. This releases many nutrients into the braise including collagen, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and amino acids. The bone imparts no flavour but adds a certain depth and thickness to the broth.
|Country Style Pork Rib Stew|| |
- 4 bone-in, country style pork ribs
- Coarse sea salt and black pepper
- 3 tbsp of avocado oil
- 3 large carrots, peeled and thickly sliced (approx 1 cup)
- 3 stalks of celery, thickly sliced (approx 1 cup)
- 2 onions, diced (approx 1.5 cups)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ cup red wine
- ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
- 3 cups of chicken stock
- 1 tbsp of dijon mustard
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed
- ½ tsp of crushed red pepper flakes (optional for spice)
- parsley, chopped to sprinkle on top
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- Pat the ribs dry and season them liberally with salt and fresh ground pepper on both sides.
- Take a large, oven safe pot (I like to use a 6qt oval dutch oven) and place it over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp of avocado oil.
- Once the oil is shimmering, add the ribs to the pan. DO NOT crowd the pan! If they are too crowded they will not brown but will steam instead and you want them to get crispy edges. If necessary, brown them in several batches.
- Leave the ribs to brown and resist the urge to turn them over unless they lift easily from the pan (this means they are nicely brown). Most recipes will tell you this takes a few minutes per side but I don't want to lie to you. This step will likely take you between 15 and 20 minutes per batch. Don't skimp out on this step! Once done, remove the ribs to a plate and set aside.
- Add the final tbsp of avocado oil to the hot pan. Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic to the pan sauteeing until fragrant and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and stir cooking for a few minutes until the whole mixture turns a dark red. The brown bits at the bottom of the pan will lift as you stir, you want this.
- Add the red wine and continue to lift the brown bits from the pan.
- Add the vinegar, chicken stock, mustard, bay leaves, thyme and red pepper flakes.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the ribs to the pan and raise the heat to high until it starts to boil.
- Once boiling, turn off the heat. Cover the pot and place it in the oven.
- Cook for about 2 hours, until the ribs are fork tender and falling off the bone.
- When done, remove the pan from the oven. Take out approximately 1 cup of liquid and vegetables (be sure to get some carrots and celery).
- Puree this mixture using a hand blender until relatively smooth. Add back into the stew and stir to combine. This step makes the stew a little thicker.
- Serve over mashed potatoes and sprinkle with chopped parsley.