Sunday, September 29, 2013

Recipe: Pork Rib Stew in Tomato Sauce

One of the dishes we frequently have at home is a really simple and fairly healthy one to make. This one is particularly accessible as it doesn't call for any fresh herbs, just dried bottle herbs and it's also a dish that keeps and freezes well. I've been going on this kick to actually document and spell out the recipes that we make often, just to keep them recorded and re-creatable. This is a step-by-step of the process, which begins with a marinade. (Actually, it begins with buying the pork ribs from a butcher or wet market but we'll skip that part. Try to make sure the ribs are meaty). 


1 cup red wine
1 Tbsp ground thyme
3 bay leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp ground basil
1 tsp ground parsley
15 pieces pork ribs
1 1/2 tsp cornflour
2 carrots
5 potatoes
2 sticks of celery
1 turnip 
2 medium white onions

You can use more than 15 pork ribs, for a fuller and also more protein-heavy dish. You can also play around with the ingredients. I chop them into fairly large pieces as you can see and they cook down into softness but if you want, you can also make small dainty pieces of vegetable and meat. I find it a good way to trick children into eating primarily vegetables, that have been imbued with the flavour of the meat stew. 

Marinade all the ingredients in the herbs and liquid and mix them around well. Leave it overnight in the fridge or at least for a few hours. When you are ready to start, pour out some extra cornflour (I use about 4 Tbsp) and dredge the pork ribs in the flour, then heat some oil in a large pan and sear the ribs, meat-side down. You can deglaze the pan with some extra red wine if you've been careless and burnt the meat on the bottom of the pan. 

Mix the vegetables in and stir it through with the marinade sauce. Make sure to scrap down the bottom and sides of the pan. Fill the pot with water, just until all the meat is submerged and add to this, 1/2 a cup of Prego traditional tomato sauce (or any other kind of tomato sauce or home-made tomato sauce, if you have any), 4 Tbsp of tomato ketcup or 2 Tbsp of tomato paste and 2 Tbsp of light soya sauce. For my quantity, the water required was about 7 cups but this clearly will be variable depending on your quantity or the size of your pot. 

Close the lid and stew for 1.5 hours until the meat is soft and the liquid sauce has cooked down into a thick gravy. I think what gives this such a deep taste is the slow cooking process of all those vegetables and meat, in the tomato, rather like a oddly asian-fied version of a cassoulet. The meat and sauce is not overly alcoholic, as a lot of it would have cooked into the meat or boiled off in the process. Serve over steamed rice, or polenta and white crusty bread.   

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