Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ribs & Sauerkraut (for Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven)

Ribs and sauerkraut cooked in either the slow cooker or in a "real" Dutch oven over coals or an open fire. The meat is moist and fall-off-the-bone tender, the sauerkraut amber-colored and apple-sweet. For Weight Watchers, just 4 PointsPlus or 3 Old Points.

Ribs & Sauerkraut cooked in a slow cooker or in a 'real' Dutch oven (pictured) over coals or an open fire.

When my parents returned from a short honeymoon at the family cottage in Manitoba’s Whiteshell, waiting on the stove was an inky-black cast iron skillet, a surprise from my grandmother.

So practical, that gift. My mother loved the story as much as the skillet which is still in use at my dad’s house more than fifty years later.

But is cast iron sexy enough for today? For the last few years, LeCreuset-style enamel-covered cast iron like this braising pan has become the go-to wedding gift, still practical but sexy-red.

We’re still adding to our own collection of cast iron:
Four skillets of different sizes, including a six-inch mini skillet perfect for one egg or a mini batch of corn bread
A griddle that's great for Baked Bacon or baking a slew of burgers or meatballs
A grill pan for steaks and chops
Mini cast iron servers for individual servings, appetizers, etc.
Most recently, a “real” Dutch oven with feet for resting on coals or an open fire plus a footed lid, flip it over and it’s a flat cooking surface – again, so practical.

So begins my pursuit for a handful of go-to recipes for cooking outdoors, healthy and hearty both. First up, moist and falling-off-the-bone meaty ribs with apple-studded sauerkraut. It couldn’t be simpler – and it just might make cast iron sexy again. What a meal.

CARING for YOUR CAST IRON Clean cast iron with warm water and a soft scrub: never with soap, never with metal. If it hangs from a pot rack, cast iron can air dry, otherwise, dry well before storing. If a pot has a lid, dry the pot well and put a paper towel inside to absorb moisture, another on the lip before putting the lid on. To build the “black patina” of a well-seasoned pan, rub the pan’s interior with vegetable oil after every use at first, less often as the pan becomes seasoned. The very best way to season a cast iron skillet? Make fried chicken, I swear!

ALANNA’s TIPS For less pungent sauerkraut, rinse under running water and then drain. If you love sauerkraut as much as I do, however, skip the rinsing. Sauerkraut on the top or the bottom? I’ve done it both ways. It serves easier when the sauerkraut’s on the bottom but both work. It would be easy to make this an even meatier dish for XXL appetites. Just brown some sausage, some pork tenderloin, even some ham and stir into the sauerkraut. You’ll want to increase the Cooking Liquid too.

RIBS & SAUERKRAUT RECIPE
for SLOW COOKER or DUTCH OVEN

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 4 - 8 hours for slow cooker, 60 - 90 minutes for Dutch oven
Serves 7 (assumes 14 ribs and 5 cups sauerkraut)
  • 2-1/2 pounds meaty pork ribs
  • 2 pounds sauerkraut, preferably from a jar or a bag
  • 1 apple, chopped
    COOKING LIQUID
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seed
  • Generous grind black pepper
  • 1 cup white wine or apple cider
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    FOR SERVING
  • 1 apple, skin on, cut in thin slices

Cut between the ribs to separate into individual ribs.

Drain and discard the sauerkraut liquid. If you like (see ALANNA’s TIPS), rinse and drain the sauerkraut.

Mix the Cooking Liquid in a small bowl.

FOR SLOW COOKER Brown the ribs on both sides, in batches if necessary. Arrange the ribs in the bottom of a five-quart or larger slow cooker. Top with the drained sauerkraut, chopped apple and Cooking Liquid. Cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. About 15 minutes before serving, arrange apple slices on top, let warm through.

FOR DUTCH OVEN Light 26 coals. As soon as lit, arrange 10 coals in a ring the width of the Dutch oven, place the Dutch oven on top of the coals to heat. When the pot is hot, brown the ribs on both sides, in batches if necessary. Arrange the ribs in the bottom of the Dutch oven. Top with sauerkraut, chopped apple and Cooking Liquid. Cover and place 16 coals around the perimeter of the lid. Let cook for 60 – 90 minutes, adding fresh coals as coals burn out, turning the pot a quarter turn every 15 minutes. About 15 minutes before serving, arrange apple slices on top, let warm through.

SERVE Serve with corn bread or cooked rice, the better to sop up the sauerkraut juices.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving (2 ribs & ¾ cup sauerkraut): 184 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 48mg Cholesterol; 605mg Sodium; 15g Carb; 5g Fiber; 8g Sugar; 16g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 3, PointsPlus 4
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child and Dutch Oven Cajun and Creole by Bill Ryan. DISCLOSURE A complimentary copy of Dutch Oven Cajun and Creole was provided by the publisher Gibbs-Smith. As always, the opinions are my own. My Disclosure Promise

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite Dutch oven recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

Ribs & Sauerkraut cooked in a slow cooker (pictured) or in a 'real' Dutch oven (pictured) over coals or an open fire.

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© Copyright 2012, 2014 Kitchen Parade



Monday, September 17, 2012

Ina Garten's Tabbouleh Salad Recipe

My latest summer salad recipe, a big batch of homemade tabbouleh salad using Ina Garten’s recipe, an easy combination of bulgur wheat, lemon juice and olive oil with cucumber, tomato, green onion, fresh parsley and fresh mint. (Recipe hint: Mint is the secret ingredient!)

Ina Garten's Tabbouleh Salad, easy salad with bulgur wheat, cucumber, tomato, green onion, fresh parsley, fresh mint. Recipe hint: the secret ingredient is ... !

TV’s been banished from my house, “Gone, I say, gone”. You see, my relationship with TV is “love-hate” and “on again – off again”. Right now it’s hate and off and has been for, hmm, let’s see, when did Congress in all its wisdom decide that all televisions must be digital? That long, quite a few years.

What’s this to do with Ina Garten and Tabbouleh, you’re wondering? Well, no TV, no Food Network, no Food Network, no Ina Garten.

Luckily, my friends Jim and Kathy are, well, “normal” and own a TV. And thank goodness they are Ina Gartner fans otherwise, I’d have missed Ina Garten’s Tabbouleh Salad recipe, the best homemade tabboulleh salad this side of a Middle Eastern restaurant.

It’s just so simple. So perfect. So unassuming. So fresh. So balanced. And easy – that’s E A Z Y easy. Just soak bulghur wheat, then perform some quick knife work and there you go, homemade tabbouleh salad.

WHAT IS BULGUR WHEAT? First, bulgur wheat is also called BULGHUR and BURGHUL and BULGAR WHEAT but don’t let that confuse you. It’s highly nutritious because it’s made from the whole kernel of wheat, with just a touch of the bran removed, then parboiled and dried, so that when it reaches our kitchens, it cooks quickly. It even “cooks” just by soaking it for an hour in boiling water, like in this recipe for tabboulleh.

WHAT IS CRACKED WHEAT? Bulgur wheat and cracked wheat are often confused. They’re both wheat but not the same thing. Cracked wheat is, well, cracked, but it’s not pre-cooked so takes longer to cook than bulgur.

WHERE TO BUY BULGUR WHEAT? If your grocery carries Bob’s Red Mill products or has a bulk food aisle, look for it there. Otherwise, check Whole Foods or a natural foods store. It’s worth seeking out!

HOW TO STORE BULGUR WHEAT Like all whole grains, bulgur should be stored in an air-tight container in the freezer or refrigerator. I’ve actually converted a vegetable bin in my fridge to storage for roasted nuts and grains – kinda handy, especially because I’m less prone to buy too many vegetables since fridge storage is limited.

ALANNA’s TIPS What makes this salad special, Jim and I agree, is the combination of fresh parsley and fresh mint. There are two styles of tabbouleh, one that’s hearty with the wholesome grain bulgur, another that’s a light and airy green salad, all about the parsley. Yes, I have a recipe for that, too! Coming soon!
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite Ina Garten recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA:
INA GARTEN’s
TABBOULEH SALAD RECIPE

Hands-on time: 40 minutes over 90 minutes
Time to table: 90 minutes (but best after resting several hours)
Makes 6 cups
    BULGHUR
  • 1 cup (170g) bulgur wheat
  • 1-1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    VEGETABLES & HERBS
  • 1 English cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, cut in small dice
  • 2 cups (8oz/227g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup chopped green onions, white and green parts
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
    TO FINISH the TABBOULEH SALAD
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (don’t skip)
  • Additional salt & pepper to taste

BULGHUR Combine bulgur and boiling water in a large bowl. Stir in lemon juice, olive oil and salt.

Let rest for an hour, stirring occasionally. (The bulgur will soften and expand. Let the kids check it once in awhile, it grows!)

VEGETABLES Stir the vegetables and fresh herbs into the bulgur.

FINISH Stir in the pepper and any additional salt or pepper to taste.

Cover and refrigerate, best if left to rest for several hours before serving.

LEFTOVER REPORT Homemade tabbouleh salad stays fresh and inviting for several days.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Half Cup: 104 Calories; 5g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 107mg Sodium; 15g Carb; 4g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 1.5, WW PointsPlus 3.
WEIGHT WATCHERS TIPS WW fans, you’ll love this recipe, because it’s naturally low in WW points but sticks with you. I ate it for breakfast – yes, breakfast! – a couple of mornings with a piece of toast and a little feta cheese. When lunch came, I could have skipped it – though didn’t, of course, knowing how important it is to not skip meals.

WORD DANCING!

HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE TABBOULEH? Tabbouleh is one of those words you hear pronounced different ways. I’ve always pronounced it [ta-BOO-lee] but am working on a more authentic pronounciation, [TA-boo-lay]. Then again, Merriam-Webster says it’s pronounced [ta-BOO-la], rhymes with Missoula. How you do you pronounce tabbouleh?

HOW DO YOU SPELL TABBOULEH? Okay so it seems that the most consistent way to spell tabbouleh comes from Arabic and is just that, double b, single l. But there’s also tabouleh (single b, single l) and tabouli or tabbouli – or my favorite, the phonetic spelling, tabooli!

Adapted from Food Network.

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© Copyright 2012 Kitchen Parade