The leaves are changing color, the apples and squash are ripe, and Pasture’s A Plenty Country Style Ribs are on special this week at Seward Co-op for $3.99/lb.
Jim and LeeAnn VanDerPol have been raising hogs for decades at Pasture’s A Plenty Farm in Kerkhoven, Minn. Over the years, their children have become increasingly more involved on the farm and the family has made steady efforts to reduce tillage, chemical usage, and raise their livestock on pasture. Today, Pasture’s A Plenty is a family-run grazing operation featuring produce, dairy heifers, heritage hogs, and chickens. The animals are raised and harvested in a clean and humane environment, and the products are delivered locally to co-ops and restaurants.
I like their Country Style Ribs. The price is right, but with all that connective tissue, Country Style Ribs need a little coaxing and heat to become tasty and tender. What with local fresh cider and butternut squash readily available this time of year from local sources, I threw together a local, seasonal dish in an afternoon consisting of cider, ribs, and butternut squash. It’s an easy meal that celebrates the season at a reasonable price. Enjoy!
Cider Braised Country Style Ribs and Butternut Squash
4-6 country style boneless pork ribs
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped roughly
12 oz. cider
1 c. chicken stock
2 tbsp BBQ sauce
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rub ribs with salt and pepper on both sides. Brown ribs on all sides in hot oil in skillet. Add salt, pepper, water, garlic, and onion to pan. Allow onions to caramelize until dark, but not burned. Place ribs and onions in an oven casserole and set aside. De-glaze skillet with 6 oz. cider. Pour cider de-glazing mixture over the ribs and onions in the casserole. Add remaining thyme, BBQ sauce, cider, and stock to the casserole pan. Stir. Bake covered for 1 hour at 375. Remove cover and bake for one more hour. Baste ribs 3-4 times with braising liquid from the pan while baking. Serve with butternut squash recipe below. Pour 2 tbsp. braising liquid over ribs and squash as a sauce.
1 medium butternut squash
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
Cut squash down the middle lengthwise, scrape out seeds. Rub cut surface with salt, pepper, oil, brown sugar. Coat baking pan with butter or non-stick spray. Bake upside-down in baking pan at 375 degrees for 1.5 hours. Scrape out the squash pulp and mash until smooth. Add more salt, pepper, and brown sugar to taste.