Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sticky orange-soy pork spareribs with turnip puree and asparagus

The other day I was wandering around New Seasons, as is my wont, and they had an unbelievable deal on pork spareribs. Like $2.38 a pound or sommat. Sure, you're mostly paying for bone, but that's still so cheap that you can get a half a rack for a few bucks and feed two people easily.

Their root veg was particularly enormous, too, and I wound up buying a turnip and a golden beet, each easily the size of my head. The crispy autumn sunshine and oak duff worked their magic on me, and I fell into the trance of a slow braise. Orange zest and juice, sugar, soy sauce, garlic and shallots warmed in a wide casserole and I slipped the ribs under the cozy liquid, tucked it snug in its bed with tinfoil, and kissed it goodnight in a three-hour warm oven.

When the meat was dripping off the bones, I reduced the liquid until sticky-sweet and earthy soy. I boiled and mashed a whole megatuber, Super Mario-esque turnip with a lot of buttermilk and cultured butter, added a pinch of salt and chopped parsley, and then ran the immersion blender through it for good measure.

Pencil-thin asparagus (not in season, but Scott tends to pick it up for his requisite steak-and-mashed-potato-while-Heather-is away Man Dinner, and we had some left from last week when he made just such a purchase) took a hot pan with olive oil, salt and lemon zest.

Most of the meat fell off when I tried to cut the ribs apart, but I was able to salvage a few for the photo. I can't stop thinking about everything else I want to braise.

29 comments:

Emily said...

Mmmmm.

Toni said...

OK. That's it. I MUST have this! And I'm not just saying that.

SOUP OF THE DAY said...

The giant beet you talk about sounds familiar -- Did you happen to see the article on Portland's newest Chef's in the November issue of Gourmet? The chef at Ten-01 (I think his name was Yoss?) was talking about some 10 pound beets he gets from Thiel farm. He said that they were super sweet, and just had the most intense beet flavor he's ever tasted. I love beets. LOVE them.

Your ribs look delish :)

Manggy said...

Fantastic-- I love the combination of sugar and soy sauce. (And noooo, it is not because I like the combination of sugar and anything.) Although I'd probably start mine in the early morning so I can have it for lunch :) Just the description of the meat dripping off the bones sets me on edge!

canarygirl said...

OMG my mouth is totally watering now. Orange and soy together...deeeelishus!

Foodycat said...

Oh how gorgeous! I think I will rip off the turnip buttermilk mash for a St Andrews night dinner with some haggis.

peter said...

As you already know, I braised short ribs last night. It's the season for turning cheap cuts into sublime gut-hugging goodness. And who doesn't love huge roots?

Thanks for the card.

Bellini Valli said...

Braising is a must for the winter months Heather. I can just picture these tender ribs on my own plate.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Now that sounds and looks very good.

Let's hear it for the turnip, one of life's rather unloved and neglected...

Anyway, enough about you. Let's talk about the food.

;-)

abadeeba said...

that was one of the most descriptive posts i've read in awhile... i'm gonna start calling you DESCRIPTA, like it's your rap name. As in "Yo, Descripta!! Waddup?! Mad muchafuggin spare ribs in the house!"

Peace out.

Syd said...

Oh, fuckin' A! That looks so good! Love orange w/ pork.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

What is more beautiful than ribs? I can just taste these.

The turnip was an interesting call. Very nice twist.

Sam said...

These sound amazing, I will be trying this!

lisaiscooking said...

I'm actually drooling over the turnip puree (I know, my near-vegetarianness is showing).

Heather said...

Emily - Emmmmmmmmmmily. I just noticed that you changed your name to the real Slim Shady.

Toni - It can be yours! For a few bucks, three hours and minimal effort!

Traci - I did read about it! I swelled with pride reading about Portland's wunderkint - I love all those restaurants so much. I love beets, too.

Marky Mark and tha Funky Bunch! - Sugar and soy sauce is the best salty/sweet!

Nikki - This is definitely something that I can easily eat too much of. :)

Alicia - Take it! It's all yours.

Jube - I was joking with Scott recently about bringing our electric slow-cooker to the office so I can all-day braise a pork butt without worrying about burning the house down. It'd also be a great way to fuck with my coworkers.

Valli - Boy, howdy. It makes the whole house warm and smell of meat!

Sketti - You are completely silly. Everyone knows I'm a rutabega. :P

Innagottabadeeba, Honey - I like it. It can replace my old rapper name, Earth Tone Loc.

Syd - So do I. I need to just make jars of the orange-soy glaze to keep around for lazy pork chop nights.

Rachel - I try to mix up my starch every once in awhile, and this time the turnip beat the parsnip. :)

Sam - I hope you do! You won't regret it.

Lisa - The turnip puree is a keeper. I think turnips are a low-GI carb, too, better for the ol' blood sugar.

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

I just braised for the first time a bit ago and fell in love...I need to try ribs!

Lo said...

Yeah.
That's what I'm talkin' about. Braised ribs. *smack*

glamah16 said...

Oh yes!I have to try the buttermilk next time I mash. I love your braising liquid. Whatcha going to do the with the giant golden beet.I havent seen any lately in these parts.

matt wright said...

Wow, you are a post machine recently!

Great looking ribs. I love braising. My favorite of all time is really good pork belly.

Sophie said...

Sticky and orange, the title alone has my mouth watering!

Peter G said...

Bring on the braise I say!!! Great combo of flavours and I can see how the meat fell off the bone!

We Are Never Full said...

damn. this looks mighty fine. you can tell how 'fall off the bone' that meat is when you look at that beautiful bare bone at the end of rib. nice.

Heather said...

Judy - It's the original "set it and forget it". :)

Lo - Finger-lickin' good.

Court - It gives a creamy tang that's really nice with the earthy-sweet mash.

Matt - I'm just so happy to be in my own kitchen again, and this warm and wet weather revs me up. :)

Sophie - You shoulda smelled it. :)

Petah - It literally could not support its own weight. It was glorious. :D

Amy - The bone sticking out the end is my favorite thing to see on meat.

Pam said...

Your pictures always make my mouth water! The sticky spareribs are simply beautiful.

Norm Schoen said...

Your food photography is bordering on pornographic....in a good way

Peter M said...

Undeniably fall-off the bone...I think I'll have ribs 2nite!

Nilmandra said...

Those ribs look great. I'm not a big fan of ribs so I've never cooked them myself, but the husband loves them. Maybe I should try it some time.

cook eat FRET said...

ok - all that shit i said about your last post the mac and cheese spaetzle thing?

i meant it about this one.

imagine that spaetzle with this as its first course...

fucking heaven

Norm Schoen said...

As Emeril says: "Pork fat rules".