Slow-Cooked Country-Style Ribs with Sauerkraut and Apples
Country Style Ribs with Sauerkraut and Apples is one of the very few dishes that I make in my slow-cooker/crock pot. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the wonderful convenience that is throwing all ingredients in a pot and letting it cook itself all day/night, but it requires the plan-ahead gene that is missing from my make-up. I’m more of a wing-it kind of gal. In 8-9 hours I might change my mind 3-5 times on the subject of what-to-have-for-dinner. But, it’s good to have a couple of recipes like this up your sleeve for when you do want to “set it and forget it”, and this one is a winner.
This recipe uses Country-Style Ribs, the meatiest of the pork ribs, which require a knife and fork to eat when roasted. When cooked in a slow-cooker, however, the meat gets very tender and falls off the bones like buttah. Cooked together with sauerkraut, potatoes, carrots and apples, you’ve got yourself a Pennsylvania Dutch Smorgasbord in one dish.
When I cook meat in my Crock-Pot, I like to brown it on the stove first, to get that seared crust which optimizes the flavor of the meat. It is an added step and if you don’t want to do this, it will not effect the way that the dish cooks. One make-ahead tip that you can do is to chop the potatoes and vegetables the night before, saving them in a bowl full of water in the fridge. Just drain them and add them to the pot when you’re ready to cook. I add apple cider for the liquid whenever I am cooking pork, because I feel like the flavors are perfect together, and in this dish it really balances well with the sauerkraut and onions.
The recipe says to cook for 4-5 hours on high or 8-9 hours on low and I have noticed that for BEST results, the lower & slower method pays off because the meat is more tender and falls off the bone easier. It is still delicious using the quicker method, but you may have to cut the meat with a fork and knife.
One thing that is certain is it makes delicious leftovers. I made this on the weekend and then when I put the leftovers away, I poured all of the apple gravy right into the pork and vegetables. I reheated it in this Dutch Oven in the 350 degree oven and it was even better than the first time. My hubs remarked that this would be really good “game day” food.
I had planned on sharing this recipe and post next week and then my son asked what I was going to post for the Superbowl, and suddenly it all came together!
The recipe can be increased to serve a crowd and can be made with more or less sauerkraut, to accommodate your families taste. One thing you will definitely want to do, though, is be sure to sprinkle lots of bright green parsley on top, like green confetti, to cheer on the home team to Superbowl victory!
Because, green is good for you of course! What did you think I meant? May the best team win, just pass me that apple gravy. ; )
- 3 1/2 pounds pork country-style ribs, cut into 1- to 2-rib portions, and crosswise in half (optional)
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 6-8 small red potatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 3 medium carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 12-16 ounces sauerkraut, drained
- 1 cup apple cider or apple juice
- 2 teaspoons caraway or fennel seed
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 apples, cored and thinly sliced
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
- In a large skillet brown pork ribs on both sides in hot oil over medium-high heat. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart electric crockery cooker place potatoes, carrots, onion, browned pork ribs, and sauerkraut. In a bowl combine apple cider, caraway seed, and cloves. Pour over sauerkraut.
- Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Remove meat and vegetables from cooker, reserving the drippings in the cooker. Place meat and vegetables on serving platter; keep warm. For gravy, strain juices into glass measuring cup. Skim off fat. Measure 1 cup liquid (if necessary, add water); pour into a saucepan.
- In a small bowl stir all-purpose flour into cold water until smooth (or shake together in a screw-top jar). Stir into the juices in saucepan. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in the apple. Cook and stir for 1 minute more or until heated through. If desired, season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley just before serving. Serve gravy with ribs and vegetables. Makes 4 servings.