Braised Spare Ribs; White Bean & Collard Greens Gratin


dscn3806The ribs were from the farmer’s market – there’s a pig guy I usually buy bacon from, but he was out by the time I got there so I went for some ribs instead.  The gratin is a WF Cookbook recipe, with collard greens standing in for kale because my supermarket is small and local and not always well stocked.

For the ribs, I simply rubbed them down with salt, pepper, and Penzey’s Northwood’s Seasoning and tossed them into the slow cooker with 1 can chopped green chiles, 1 sliced onion, and 2 cubes frozen spicy chicken stock (leftover from the chili from last Monday).  I set it to low and let it braise for 8 hours, though it probably would have been ready after 6.  It was literally falling off the bone and melt-in-your-mouth tender.  The onions and chiles disappeared into a rich silky sauce and the whole thing was pretty much delicious.

The gratin was really good too – definitely something I’d make again.  (Possibly even as a dip,  pureeing the beans and greens together first.)  I think, healthwise, the greens were probably balanced out by the amount of cheese, but hey, cheese is delicious, so everybody wins!

  • 1 bunch kale (or other sturdy leafy green), stems removed
  • 3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 15-oz cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 oz sharp cheddar, grated (about 1 1/2 c)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add kale and blanch for 2-3 minutes until just tender, then plunge into an ice water bath.  Drain and chop coarsely.

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, toss well to combine.  The kale will probably try to stick together because it’s wet, so you’ll have to mix it pretty vigorously.  Save some of the cheese for the top.

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Put the mixture into a small casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake 20 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Dylan Report: He had no interest in the ribs, but enjoyed the bean gratin primarily due to its high cheese content.  Left to his own devices he would have happily eaten nothing but the rolls I served on the side to sop up the braising liquid.

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