While on a recent grocery shop (which for me is a very regular occurrence!) a jar of sauerkraut caught my attention, and just seemed to be calling out to me. Strange..? Perhaps. Perhaps I was thinking about my Mom. Perhaps my soul was crying out for childhood comfort, needing something totally dee-lish like her fabulous version of Polish sauerkraut!
Whatever the reason, I would not be stymied by the fact that I don’t know, nor will never have her recipe.
“I remember how it tasted AND I’m a professional chef” I told myself. “I got this!”
Once I thought it through, it came together quite nicely. From needing to first brown the meat, then cook it slowly, I thought a heap of caramelized onions would be a great addition, bringing lots of flavour aboard. I also wanted to keep it fairly simple, even knowing that my Mom put a lot of ingredients in hers, with not just ribs, but also mushrooms and Polish sausage… and maybe even other yummy things that I can’t recall after all these years. Her version was levels above hearty, with a stick-to-your-ribs-fuel that was needed for long winter days on the farm.
What it lacks in appearance, it more than makes up for in taste. Judging a book – or anything – by its cover, is usually all kinds of wrong, and in the case of a long simmered dish it’s nothing that a sprinkling of something fresh & green can’t fix.
For best results, be sure to use a heavy bottomed pot that can go from stove top to oven. If it has any handles you think are not heat-proof or might be damaged – do what I do and wrap/cover them with foil.
While this was not quite my Mom’s version, this was deliciously hearty, and just what I needed!
ps for extra comfort, you can serve this with mashed potatoes. Mom would’ve~
- Spareribs, 2 - 3 bones per person
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large onion, cut into medium dice
- Olive oil, for browning (approx.2 TBSP)
- Butter, also for browning (approx. 1 TBSP)
- White wine, approx. 1/4 cup (could also use chicken stock or beer)
- Sauerkraut, 1 large jar, drained
- To garnish: a sprinkle of something green & chopped: Italian parsley, spinach, kale, etc
- Preheat oven to 325°
- Cut ribs into 1-bone pieces, season with salt & pepper and set aside.
- In a casserole type pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil.
- Add rib pieces, without crowding the pot and brown well on all sides - cook in batches if necessary. Remove when browned and set aside.
- If there’s not much fat in the pan, add a splash more oil, and a spoonful of butter (for taste).
- Add the onions, a sprinkle of salt & pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes until softened and starting to colour.
- Turn heat to high, add wine and stir.
- Add drained sauerkraut and the browned rib pieces stirring gently to combine, with the ribs mostly under the sauerkraut.
- Add a lid and put in the oven to cook, for approx. 75 minutes, depending on the size of the ribs, heat of your oven, etc.
- Pull the pot out at approx. half way to check on the progress, and give it a gentle stir.
- You’ll know it’s done when the ribs are soft and starting to fall off the bone.
- To serve, place some sauerkraut in the bottom of a big shallow plate or bowl, top with 2 to 3 pieces of ribs, and then sprinkling of something green.
- *Tip: many people will rinse sauerkraut, especially if it's stored in wine. When draining, taste it, and rinse to your liking - it will mellow somewhat when cooking, but will remain with quite a strong taste if un-rinsed.