Apple Cider Country-style Pork Ribs

by Desiree Currie, Wooden Spoon Studio

SERVES 4-6

Glazed and fork-tender, this apple-rich preparation of our own farm-raised pork ribs is the perfect gateway to cool weather and warm fall flavors. Our own apple cider is the key, both as a braising liquid and as the star ingredient to a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce for slathering (recipe on reverse side). Serve the ribs with your favorite hearty sides, from braised greens, to cornbread, to macaroni and cheese.

Ingredients

6 country-style ribs (about 8 oz each)
3/4 cup apple cider
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp onion powder
large pinch (about 1/8 tsp)
cinnamon
Apple Cider BBQ Sauce (recipe on reverse side), for glazing & serving

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 275°F.

2. Combine the salt, pepper and spices in a small bowl.

3. Pat the ribs dry with paper towels and sprinkle them all over with the spice mixture.

4. Arrange the seasoned ribs in a baking dish. Pour the apple cider into the dish and give it a quick tilt to even out the liquid.

5. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until the meat “gives” when you poke it with the tip of a knife, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours

6. Carefully transfer the ribs to a broiler-safe baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Tent with foil for 20 minutes to one hour.

7. Degrease the braising liquid by either pouring it into a fat separator, or skimming the fat with a spoon. Reserve the liquid for braising or drizzling over your side dishes (it's excellent for braising greens and spooning over mashed potatoes).

8. Preheat broiler

9. Untent the ribs and paint with Apple Cider BBQ Sauce. Broil for 2-3 minutes, flip, then paint the other side. Continue broiling, painting and flipping in 2-3 minute intervals until the ribs are lacquered and charred to your liking. Serve with extra BBQ sauce.

Apple Cider BBQ Sauce

by Desiree Currie, Wooden Spoon Studio

MAKES ABOUT 2 1/4 CUPS

Our own apple cider joins forces with fresh fall apples and apple cider vinegar for a tangy BBQ sauce bursting with apple flavor (and a little heat). Coat it on our own country-style pork ribs (recipe on reverse side) or serve it with chicken, pork or a fall-flavored pot of baked beans

Ingredients

4 cups apple cider
2 large apples (about 8 oz each), peeled, cored and chopped
2 plum tomatoes (about 4 oz each), cored and chopped
1 small yellow onion (about 8 oz), coarsely chopped)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp molasses
1 1/2 tbsp flavorless oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
3/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
large pinch (about 1/8 tsp) freshly ground black pepper
large pinch (about 1/8 tsp) cinnamon
large pinch (about 1/8 tsp) ground allspice
Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot

Instructions

1. Heat the oil over medium-low heat in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot. Sauté the onions until translucent and pale gold, about 12-15 minutes.

2. Add the garlic to the pot and sauté for about 2 minutes to take the raw edge off. It’s okay if the ingredients brown slightly at the edges.

3. Add the tomatoes, apples, salt and crushed red pepper to the pot. Raise the heat to medium and sauté until the tomatoes have broken down and reduced, about 8-10 minutes.

4. Stir in the apple cider, apple cider vinegar, molasses, chili powder, onion powder, black pepper, cinnamon and allspice. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a rapid simmer. Cook, uncovered (stirring occasionally), until the mixture has thickened, darkened and reduced by half, about 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

5. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the yellow mustard. Allow the sauce to cool, uncovered, for 45 minutes. It should now look like a thick chutney.

6. Blend the sauce to a uniform consistency using a countertop or immersion blender. For a smoother texture, pass the sauce through a food mill or fine mesh sieve.

7. Refrigerate leftover sauce in an airtight container for up to 10 days (or more, depending on the temperature of your refrigerator).

Crispy Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder

by Desiree Currie

SERVES 8-10

Our own farm-raised pork shoulder is best enjoyed with crisp, crunchy skin and pull-apart tender meat. To make it at home, grab your sharpest knife, a rack and roasting pan—then sit back and allow a low oven and a bit of steam to slow-roast the shoulder. Once it emerges tender and juicy, crank up the oven to blister and crisp up the skin. Its salty, crackly bite will have you dancing in your seat—so plan your guest list accordingly!

Ingredients

7 to 8-lb bone-in, skin-on pork shoulder
boiling water (about 7 cups)
1 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp Kosher salt, separated
1 1/2 tsp whole fennel seeds
1 1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds
2 whole cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 dry bay leaves
Dijon mustard and honey mustard (recipe below), for serving
roasting pan with rack

Instructions

1. Coarsely crush the fennel and coriander seeds using a mortar and pestle, the side of a jar, or a heavy frying pan. Combine in a small bowl with 1 tbsp of the salt.

2. Using the sharpest knife you have, score the pork skin and fat in parallel strips about 1/4 inch apart. Do not score into the meat.

3. Pat the shoulder dry with paper towels and cover it all over with the spice mixture. Rub the mixture into the creases of the scored skin, pulling it apart as necessary.

4. Place the seasoned shoulder on a rack over a baking sheet or baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator for 4 hours to 24 hours.

5. Preheat oven to 275°F.

6. Transfer the shoulder and rack to a large roasting pan. Add the garlic cloves, bay leaves and enough boiling water to fill the pan just below the rack (1 1/2 to 4 cups, depending on the size of your pan).

7. Cover with aluminum foil and roast until the meat “gives” when you poke it, about 7 1/2 to 8 hours. In the meantime, add additional cups of boiling water to the pan every 3 hours to keep the liquid levels in line with the roasting rack.

8. Transfer the shoulder and rack to a baking sheet and tent with foil for 20 minutes to one hour.

9. Preheat oven to 475°F.

10. Degrease the roasting juices by either pouring into a fat separator or skimming the fat with a spoon. Transfer to a small saucepan over low heat and taste. Add additional water or salt to correct.

11. Untent the shoulder, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tsp salt, and transfer to the upper rack of the 475°F oven. Roast for 5 minutes, rotating the shoulder as necessary to allow the skin to blister and crackle. Serve immediately.

*If you’ve got a kitchen torch handy, feel free to give the skin a little extra char before serving up the roast.

Honey Mustard

by Desiree Currie

Ingredients

3 tbsp honey
4 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

Combine the honey, mustards and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Adjust the flavors to your liking.

Meaty Bacon Ragú

by Desiree Currie, Wooden Spoon Studio

MAKES ABOUT 2 QUARTS

Patience and a fatty hunk of bacon ends are the key ingredients in this special meat ragú. By building the sauce layer by layer, our own farm-raised beef, pork and bacon ends develop a deeply rich flavor backed by minced vegetables, wine and tomatoes. The result is a savory ragú with a slight hint of smoke—perfect for pasta, pizza, crusty bread and runny fried eggs

Ingredients

1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 lb smoked bacon ends*, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion (about 8 oz), finely minced
1 small yellow onion (about 8 oz), finely minced
3 medium celery ribs (about 4 oz), finely minced
2 medium carrots (about 4 oz), finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp Kosher salt, separated
coarsely ground black pepper

Instructions

1. Place the bacon ends into a large heavy-bottomed pot. Crank the heat to medium and allow the bacon to cook for 6-10 minutes, until most of the fat has rendered. The bacon should be on the verge of chewy and crisp as it sizzles in about 4-5 tbsp of its own fat.

2. Add the onions and sauté until translucent and pale gold, about 10 minutes. Taste to ensure that the “raw” onion flavor has cooked off completely

3. Add the celery, carrots, garlic and 1/2 tsp of the salt to the pot. Sauté for 5-6 minutes, until all of the vegetables are softened and pale gold in color. Drop in the tomato paste and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture will be deeply fragrant

4. Add the ground beef and pork to the pot. Season with the remaining 1 1/2 tsp of the salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss and mash the meat mixture with a wooden spoon until the meat is no longer pink and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5-10 minutes.

5. Pour in the white wine and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has cooked off, about 30 minutes.

6. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and water. Crank the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for at least 1 1/2 hours at a lazy, gentle simmer. Stir occasionally to keep the sauce from sticking to the pot. The sauce is ready when you see little pools of grease bubbling at the surface.

7. Refrigerate leftover sauce in an airtight container for up to 5-7 days, or freeze for as long as you can resist eating it!

*Look for bacon ends with equal parts fat and lean meat. If your ends are on the leaner side, supplement the fat with a bit of olive oil for sautéing the vegetables.

HOW TO FINELY CHOP/MINCE WITH THE FOOD PROCESSOR:

bacon ends: cut into scant 1/2-inch batons. Pop into the freezer for 15 minutes, then pulse in the food processor until the pieces are slightly larger than 1/8 inch all around.

onion, celery & carrot: working one vegetable at a time, cut into 1/2-inch chunks. Pulse in the food processor until the pieces are about 1/8 inch all around.

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