I'm Scandinavian. With the maiden name Skotterud, how much more Scandinavian does it get? It's in my blood and it's what makes me love the kinds of foods I love. Breads, Cheeses, Sauerkraut, Bratwurst, Rice, Shortbread, Pickles, Swedish Meatballs, Rye Crackers, etc. When I was little, my Mom used to make "Spare Ribs and Sauerkraut" often. I have always loved the comfort dish in it's simplicity. However, I also remember looking back, how bland the food we used to eat was.
Fast forward to 2014. I LOVE to cook. I mean love, in the sense that if I can find a dish that will keep me in the kitchen for hours on a Sunday afternoon, I am in heaven. I also have grown to appreciate full flavors in my food. Spice is the key to every dish! My number one "special ingredient" is adding jalapeños to almost everything I make. It adds so much flavor and takes an every day dish, like Chicken Marsala for example, to a new level. It has people wanting more every time.
This past week I realized I was craving Spare Ribs and Sauerkraut. It's typically a fall/wintery dish because it really warms the belly. I decided to try it in the crock pot so the time over a hot Dutch oven wouldn't be necessary. I also decided to add a few extra touches to the traditional dish to make it my own. I think it came out extraordinary! Even my oldest Son said it was very good, and he's not a big sauerkraut fan. I think the jalapeños, apple and bacon cut the tartness of the sauerkraut nicely. I also think the choice of beer complimented the dish as a whole.
So if you're so inclined, perhaps pin it for the fall/winter months so you aren't sweating preparing it AND eating it if you live in 100 degree weather like I do. If you're not a fan of sauerkraut but love pork spare ribs and are willing to try something new, giving this dish a try may just change your mind forever. It's that good. Vær så god! Vel bekomme!
1 pound fingerling potatoes
3 – 4 Jalapeños, sliced
1 medium brown onion, chopped
1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
3-4 slices thick-sliced bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 jar (16 ounces) sauerkraut, undrained
2 pounds pork spareribs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 12 oz bottle of beer (I used Indio for its dark toasted malty flavor)
1. In a large skillet, cook bacon until crispy. Drain on paper towels and remove all but 1 tbsp. of the remaining bacon grease. (Side Note: Save the bacon grease for later use. It’s liquid gold when making other dishes!)
2. In a 6-qt. slow cooker, place the potatoes, jalapeños, onion, apple, bacon and sauerkraut, liquid and all, to the slow cooker.
3. Cut spareribs into serving-size portions; sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the tbsp. of bacon grease over medium-high heat; brown ribs in batches. Transfer to slow cooker; sprinkle with brown sugar and caraway seeds.
4. Pour in beer. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until ribs are tender.
5. (Optional) During the last hour, mix all of the ribs in with the rest of the ingredients to meld the flavors before serving.
Finding therapy through writing, self-reflection and the pursuit of what defines me.