I need my own comfort food. I’ve heard and seen “comfort food” described often. Its usually hot, starchy and filling. Yes. I like these things. As an idea it seems to recall good, food-related childhood memories. That’s more of a stretch for me. I remember a lot of boxed food in various forms: from the store or from the fast food joints that owned the small stretch of the “business center” in our small town. There also seems to be a factor of simplicity involved. Currently my favorite foods to make are less than simple-frites and mayo, fresh spaghetti, pulled pork; all relatively labor intensive. BUT DAT SHITS GOTTA CHANGE. Football season is fast approaching and that means sitting and doing less, not standing and doing more. I look forward to embracing the consumption that is American Football season. So here is at least one meal that is gonna be bad ass for that cold, rainy Sunday night game. PLUS THERE IS BEER IN IT.
BEER BRAISED PORK SPARE RIBS
*A note on spare ribs. I found this recipe in a beer mag and changed the canvas from beef to pork. Our meat palace didn’t have pork short ribs, so I had to do some investigating. They did have SPARE ribs (the ribs that aren’t baby back) and they were super cheap. Like $2.99 a pound cheap. Evidently they are a slightly tougher cut than the famous baby back. But when you cook them for 3 hours, its not exactly a problem.
Get to your favorite store and get these things:
- 3 large spare ribs, then cut them in half
- 3 layers of a leek, washed super good, then sliced into 1/4″ strips
- 6 peeled carrots, then cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 1 8oz carton of baby bella mushrooms, de-stemmed and washed of course!
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups beef stock
- 20 oz of a strong, dark beer. Think Imperial Porter, Imperial Stout, or what I used Mother’s Imperial Three Blind Mice
- 2 TBS Olive Oil
- Fresh Thyme
- Fresh Rosemary
- Dutch Oven
Got those things? DO THIS:
- Heat olive oil in the dutch oven over medium heat. While heating, salt and pepper your spare ribs and rub that goodness in there deep.
- Once your pan is hot, place your ribs in there three at a time so that you get full contact and leave enough room for them to breathe. Brown your ribs on ALL SIDES. Should take 3-4 minutes on each side. Also, now would be a good time to preheat your oven to 375F. Then set aside on a holding plate/tray. Should look something like this:
- Turn heat down to low medium and add carrots and leeks.
- Once the pot has cooled down and settled to a stable, lower temperature, add your minced garlic. Saute till the carrots are softened and the leeks turn dark-around 8-10 minutes.
- Add beer. Then add beef broth. Bring to a boil.
- Tie your rosemary and thyme together with some butcher’s twine and add it in. If you don’t have twine, then just toss them in, but you’ll have to pull the twigs out later.
- Reduce heat to a simmer, add ALL of your spare ribs. Should look something like this:
- Cover and place in your hot box at 375F for 3.5 hours. Then enjoy.
- With one hour left in the cooking cycle, add your baby bellas and stir them in. But be careful not to disturb your tender ribs.
BUT WHAT ABOUT SIDES????
Think starch. You could do egg noodles, rice, but those are kinda lame. Why not try some Marscarpone Mashed Potatoes?? This is what I do:
- Wash and scrub however many potatoes you want.
- Put in a pot, cover halfway with milk, then cover completely with water.
- Add a healthy dose of salt, 5-6 sprigs of thyme, 1 smaller sprig of rosemary, 3 cloves of smashed garlic and 2 TBS of butter.
- Bring to a boil and boil till a fork can easily pass through the potatoes.
- Drain the liquid, but into a separate container, as you may need to use some to get your creamy consistency. Remove all the spent thyme, rosemary and garlic.
- Mash well. Mash like there is no tomorrow, BECAUSE THERE MAY NOT BE.
- Add 2 TBS of marscarpone and then whisk till your forearm hurts. If its not as creamy as you like, add some of the saved cooking milk/water mix.
- Put on a plate, add spare ribs, and some veggies from the dutch oven, grab a beer and call it good. Top with some fresh chives if you have some around. Maybe it will look something like this:
Need some soulful, comfort, sexy smooth tunes while cooking/waiting? Try Anthony Hamilton’s Back to Love.