Nothing says fall like a slow-braise filling the house with wonderful smells that make you glance at the clock to see if dinnertime is close. I clipped this recipe and instead of adding it to "the folder" (the folder that I have to edit judiciously every month or so when the clippings start fighting each other for space), I put it into this month's rotation. I'm fairly certain it came from Food Network Magazine, based on the print and format.
Because it requires browning the ribs, I passed on using the slow cooker. My rule of thumb is to dirty as few pots and pans as possible. This is not a weeknight meal since it takes a bit over 2 hours from start to finish. Don't let that dissuade you since much of the time the pork is happily braising away in the oven.
I'm fortunate to still have some thyme, sage, parsley, and rosemary growing in the boxes on my back porch. I think the end is near and I have to get cracking on putting together a small window garden. It pains me to pay $1-3 for an herb that I use for one meal and then find browned and wilted the next time I need it.
I served the ribs with some whipped potatoes and new brussels sprouts dish that I'll be posting later in the week.
4 lbs bone-in country-style pork ribs
1 1/2 tsp hot paprika
3 tbs EVOO
3 medium onions, peeled and cut into wedges
1- 12 oz bottle amber ale
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs thyme
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbs honey
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pat the ribs dry, season with salt, and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp paprika. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the ribs in batches and cook until browned (5-8 minutes per side). Remove to a plate. Add onions and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tsp paprika and season with salt.
Add the beer; bring to a boil and cook until the kiquid is reduced by half, about 8 minutes, scraping up the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves, and thyme. When the liquid begins to simmer, return the ribs to the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook, uncovered, turning the ribs once or twice, until the meat is almost tender, about 1 hour.
Mix the vinegar and honey in a measuring cup. Remove the pot from the oven and place on the stovetop; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the vinegar mixture and bring to a boil, then return the pot to the oven. Continue to braise, uncovered, until the ribs are tender, another 10-15 minutes. Return the pot to the stovetop and transfer the ribs to a plate. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat. Skim off the fat and cook until thickened, another 10-15 minutes. Return the ribs to the Dutch oven to heat through. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs before serving.
It wouldn't have mattered if I didn't like the ribs because the cider gravy was finger-lickin good. Happily, though, the ribs were fall-off-the-bone wonderful. There are lots of leftovers which I'm guessing will taste even better after sitting in the aforementioned ambrosial gravy. I'm also thinking that this same gravy would be fabulous on a braised pork roast. The bottom line was this was time well spent.