Sunday, July 26, 2015

Braised Pork Ribs with Kabocha and Lentils

This pork rib stew in a coconut milk based curry sauce makes for a great one-pot meal on a weekend afternoon. Kabocha squash and lentils are added to the dish to make it a nice hearty comfort meal while onions, ginger, garlic, bell pepper, anaheim pepper and spices round out the flavors and provide this dish with a little heat.

Although this dish takes 2 hours to cook only about 40 minutes are spent actively browning the meat and sautéing the vegetables. The remaining hour and 20 minutes cooking time is used simply baking the kabocha in the oven and braising the meat to perfection.

Serve this dish with a side of steamed jasmine rice or over a bed of steamed spinach.  Enjoy.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours (about 40 minutes actively cooking and 1 hour 20 minutes oven)
Special Tools:  Large Dutch Oven or Cast Iron Pot


1 Kabocha squash
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon yellow curry
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 garlic cloves minced
1 inch ginger minced
Half Rack Pork Ribs cut into individual ribs
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion diced
1 red bell pepper diced
1 Anaheim pepper deseeded and diced
1.5 teaspoons garam masala
4 cups beef broth
15 oz coconut milk
1/2 cup red lentils

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the Kabocha in half.  Spoon out the seeds in the center and discard them.  Line a rimmed cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Rub the butter onto the surface of the aluminum foil.  Place the Kabocha onto the cookie sheet with the skin side up and move cookie sheet into the oven to bake for 40 minutes.

While the squash bakes in the oven, marinate the pork ribs.  Place the cumin, coriander, curry powder, cayenne pepper, garlic and ginger on a large plate.  Stir the ingredients together until well combined.  Season the pork ribs with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Place the ribs onto the plate of mixed spices and toss the ingredients together until the ribs are well coated.  Cover the plate with a plastic wrap and set aside to marinate for about 30 minutes at room temperature.

You will know the kabocha squash is fully cooked when a fork can easily puncture the skin like a hot knife through butter.  Remove the kabocha from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Keep the oven heated at 375 degrees Fahrenheit while prepping the meat to be braised.  Pour the vegetable oil onto a skillet and place it over high heat.  When the oil is shimmering hot add the ribs to the pan to brown the meat on all sides (about 7-8 minutes). Reserve the marinade left on the plate. Transfer the browned meat to a large dutch oven or cast iron pot.  Add the  diced onions, bell pepper and Anaheim pepper to the hot skillet and sauté over medium heat until soft (about 5 minutes).   Add the garam masala to the onion and pepper mixture and sauté for another minute to combine. Transfer the cooked onions and peppers to the dutch oven.  Add the reserved marinade,  beef broth, coconut milk and the red lentils to the dutch oven.   Bring the pot to a boil, cover and place in the pot into the oven to braise for 45 minutes.

While the meat cooks slice and discard the skin off the cooled kabocha.  Cut the kabocha into one inch cubes and set aside.  When the meat has cooked for 45 minutes remove the pot from the oven.  Add the kabocha to the braised meat and return the pot into the oven to cook for another 20 minutes or until the meat on the ribs are nearly fall-off the bone soft.

Serve this dish with steamed jasmine rice and maybe a side dish of steamed spinach and enjoy.

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