There's something about cabbage that just screams "peasant" and "Russia" in the same sentence, mostly because Brian has so ingrained the horrors of Russian borsch in my mind that I've been quite hesitant to combine cabbage and potatoes in a soup. Over the weekend however, we took a stroll with down to the Broadway Farmer's Market and there sat a lonely little savoy cabbage bursting with all colours of green, beckoning to me to chomp on it.
Also, cabbage and soup reminds me of Brer Rabbit and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, both British institutions that demonstrate how highly popular cabbage and potatoes are in European culture. I guess that in the
I adapted this recipe from the New York Times, adding in potatoes as the bad-bad-bad carb filler and braising the spare ribs in liquid for the soup instead of doing it separately. Savoy cabbage lends a sweet taste to the soup, and complements the spicy spareribs. The actual recipe states that this will yield 10 - 12 servings. Unless you're a midget or Giada De Laurentiis, I think this whole recipe will yield about 6 servings for a main course with some crusty bread.
Cabbage, Potatoes and Spare Ribs Soup
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons dry mustard (I used mustard seeds)
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
Pinch cayenne pepper (I used chili flakes)
1 1/4 pounds pork spareribs (about 8 ribs or 1/2 rack)
1 head garlic, peeled, cloves crushed
6 cups rich chicken stock
2 cups diced yellow onions
6 generous cups green cabbage in 1-inch dice
2 cups red potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cube
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chopped parsley for garnish (Optional)
1. In a spice grinder process caraway seeds, paprika and mustard until fine. Turn into a bowl with brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and the cayenne; fluff with fingertips.
2. Dry ribs well with paper towels, and rub both sides with spices and crushed garlic. Place ribs on a small rack or plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a sheet pan lightly with vegetable spray. Brush garlic cloves from ribs, place ribs in a sheet pan, and roast until a deep golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven.
4. Transfer ribs to a 5-quart Dutch oven; pour rendered fat (about 2 tablespoons) from sheet pan into a large heavy skillet, and set aside. Place sheet pan on 2 burners over high heat, add 1 cup water, and stir with a wooden spoon to dislodge browned bits. Pour deglazing liquid and stock into Dutch oven, cover, and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer gently until ribs are tender, turning occasionally, about 75 minutes (1 hr 15 mins). Add in cubed potatoes and simmer for another 20 minutes until potatoes are soft.
5. While ribs simmer, sauté onions and cabbage in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt and the black pepper; stir to combine. Set aside.
6. Remove spare ribs from the soup. Pull pork off bones, trim off bits of cartilage, and dice meat. Discard bones. Return meat to soup base, add cabbage and onions, and simmer about 15 minutes. Serve, garnished with parsley.