Soup Up My Soup

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Ettabelle’s Spareribs

A few years ago we moved my Grandma from her house in Goderich, Ontario, into a retirement home in London close to my parent’s house. When it came time to clean out her home, I naturally called dibs on all of her cookbooks (not sure how happy she was about parting with those actually). I now have about twenty of these on my bookshelf, with some of them as much as fifty years old.

The other day I picked up “A Continual Feast,” a compilation of recipes put together in 1981 from the ladies of the local church, my Grandma included. She has about a dozen recipes in there with her name next to them, and one of them are these spareribs.

These are really easy to make; brown the ribs in some oil in a skillet for a few minutes and then transfer to a baking dish with the sauce for about an hour and a half at 350. I actually just had a saute pan with a lid (All Clad, it’s awesome use it all the time), and just used that and it worked fine. Also, I used convection baking and they were cooked perfectly in an hour.

The lemon and the vinegar are a nice contrast to the sweetness from the “catsup” and the brown sugar, also I left out the water but only because I forgot it. The end result was quite nice. Two thumbs up. I’ll comb through the book and post some other recipes that I liked.




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Choucroute Garnie (Sauerkraut a l’alsacienne)

Choucroute Garnie1

Last night I had the pleasure of going for dinner at Le Paradis on Bedford Ave. (one of the best values in the city for French food) and ordered Choucroute Garnie, a dish from Alsace Province in France consisting of various assortments of pork nestled in sauerkraut and cooked in wine.

I learned a bit about Alsace from a wine class I took a few years ago. As for wine, their two most notable grape varietals are Riesling and Gewurztraminer, the latter being German for “spice” or something to that effect. That’s it, that’s all I got.

Through war and conflict the region has bounced back and forth between Germany and France four times in the last hundred years or so, presumably finding a permanent home now in the latter. Although, with the way they have been getting along lately at the ECB, you sometimes wonder.

With the use of sauerkraut and various pork products such as sausages, I guess it comes as no surprise, then, that Alsace is so close to Frankfurt. Choucroute Garnie is a staple in Alsace during the wintertime, and given the horrible weather here in Toronto these past few weeks I thought I’d give it a shot tonight and it turned out pretty good. If you decide to make it, ensure you have at least a few delicious mustards on hand; mix and match for best effect. Nothing better than good mustard.

You can find reliable instructions for Choucroute Garnie in Larousse Gastronomique (I found a copy from the 1960s at the Trinity College Annual Book Fair for 5 bucks (!) that has served me quite well), or if you want a quicker version, here. Enjoy with a nice Reisling, or in our case tonight, a good Italian Chianti.

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Easy Pulled Pork in a Slow Cooker

Pulled pork is so versatile that it may as well be considered a condiment. Pulled pork savory crepes. Pulled pork omelets. Pulled pork wraps. Pulled pork on rye. The list is endless. And for the price of a single sandwich at a typical restaurant, you can make enough to feed your friends, and then freeze the rest for a rainy day.

Easy Pulled Pork in a Slow Cooker

Part 1

Thinly slice two medium or one large onion and line them along the bottom of a slow cooker. Then place the pork shoulder on top, add two cups of water, and cook on low overnight, about 8-10 hours on low. You could also do 4-5 hours on high. You’ll have to time this so it’s convenient for you.

Part 2

Remove the shoulder from the pot, and then use a fork to pull the meat apart. Remove the water from the pot, saving the onion. Place the chopped pork, the onions, and a jar of your favourite BBQ sauce and mix together. Then cook on low for another hour or so. You’ll have to watch this somewhat frequently so you don’t dry out the meat. Don’t go more than a couple hours.

Lately I’ve been making pulled pork with Korean bbq paste, which you can get at any Asian grocery store and is pretty tasty.

That’s it, pretty easy.

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