Cooking On A Budget: Pork Spareribs and Sauerkraut

Monday, October 17, 2016

Pork Spareribs and Sauerkraut

Pork Spareribs and Sauerkraut ~ it's a family recipe that is warm, cozy, filling and tastes wonderful!

As I have mentioned a few times already in previous posts, fall is my favorite time of year and it truly is when I enjoy my kitchen the most. The season also brings back fond cooking memories from my youth. This recipe for Pork Spareribs and Sauerkraut is a generation to generation type recipe I learned from my mom and I've passed this recipe along to my kids. Originally I tagged this recipe with the name, "old world" because that's where it's roots are - from the European countries of Poland, Czechoslovakia and surrounding areas.
I absolutely love Pork Spareribs and Sauerkraut because for me it's comfort food. Comfort food to me encompasses these factors: food that connects you with your past, is warming and hearty and filling and delights your taste buds. It is a dish you can eat over and over and over again and never ever grow tired of it. What's your comfort food? I am sure you have many as I do.

The recipe has steps, but simple to execute at the same time. Once you get it all together you just let it slow simmer for a few hours and allow the pork to get falling off the bone tender and for all of the flavors to meld together.

You need to use either pork spare ribs (the larger ribs) or baby back ribs - I think bone-in ribs are the best as they add flavor to any meat dish! I tried it once with country style ribs and did not care for it. How many ribs you buy is dependent on the number of people. I bought 1 rack of ribs for the two of us and figured we would have left overs as we normally do, but I was wrong! Yesterday we consumed an entire rack between the two of us.
  • 1-2 slabs Baby Back Pork Spareribs or Back Loin Ribs (aka St. Louis Ribs)
  • 1 large can (27 oz.) or bag of Sauerkraut
  • 1 large Sweet Onion – medium dice
  • Shortening – such as Crisco®
  • 1 cup water - plus additional to cover the ribs.
  • 3 tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. caraway seed - or to taste.
1. To prepare the ribs:  salt and pepper both sides. Cut the ribs into three or four rib sections, or if your pan is large enough you can split the ribs into two sections.  In a Dutch oven or large sauce pot, melt 2 tbsp. or so of shortening over medium heat. When the shortening is melted and hot, begin searing the ribs on both sides.  Start with the meaty side down and get them a medium to dark golden brown.  You will know the ribs are ready to flip when they come off the pan easily. 

2. Flip them over and sear the other side for about 3 minutes and remove to a platter.  You want that deep crust on the ribs to seal in the juices and for texture.  Add additional shortening as necessary to sear and continue this process until all the ribs are seared. 

3. Next, add in the diced onion and scrap the pan to remove all the good bits from the searing process.  Cook the onions down long enough for the juices to be extracted and continue to scrap to get up all of the good bits. 

4. Add in approximately 3 tbsp. flour and stir and cook until the raw flavor of the flour cooks out.  This will take about 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in 1 cup of water and keep stirring until you have no lumps. Add more water as necessary.

5. The next step is to add in the Sauerkraut and caraway seed and ribs.  I recommend doing this in layers: sauerkraut, ribs and a sprinkling of the caraway seed.  Repeat until all ribs are in.  Add additional water to make sure ribs are covered.  Add in salt and pepper to taste.

6. Cook covered over medium heat until bubbling and turn the heat down to a simmer.  Cook for about 2 to 3 hours until the ribs are completely tender.  Serve with creamy mashed potatoes and rye bread.  

There you have it - Pork Spareribs and Sauerkraut, classic bohemian style comfort food!


The cost for this meal includes the ribs, kraut and mashed potatoes: approximately $14.48, feeding four for $3.63 per person, feeding five for $2.89 per person.

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