About This Blog

This is, as the title indicates, my kitchen notebook (the header is actually a scanned image of the cover of a notebook that I started using about 25 years ago and the background is a stained page from that book). I am not a professional recipe writer. If you try any recipe here, please keep that in mind, these recipes have not been tested by an independent tester. The "recipes" are often not even really recipes but rather a list of ingredients that I've noted after preparing a dish on the fly that I thought came out well. Perhaps I've also added some instructions, but I rarely keep accurate track of what I've done in terms of time or temperature, I've just noted to the best of my memory (feeble) what I did.

Please feel free to take some inspiration from here, but on the other hand, please give credit where it is due. I also welcome any constructive comments that you might have if you are inspired to try a recipe. Questions are welcome, but keep in mind that I may not remember specifics. The dishes do evolve over time...

Thank you and enjoy!

A Stew of Lentils, Celery Root, and Spare Ribs

I came up with this stew to use the first celery root that I harvested this year. I like to pair lentils and celery root and further, I like to add some sort of pork product to the mix. This time I thought this would be a good way to use a small rack of pork ribs that I got in a pig share from Fogline Farm. It turned out to be an excellent way to use the rack. Next time I think I will increase the amount of lentils and further add a couple of pork sausages to the mix.

Olive oil as needed
1 small rack of spare ribs (8 ribs)
salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/2 large sweet onion, cut into large dice
minced garlic (about 1 tbs frozen in olive oil)
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 small fresh true bay leaves
dried sweet pepper flakes (Aji Habanero)
about 3/4 cup of French green lentils (that's all I had on hand, 1 cup would be good)
2 cups chicken stock
about 12 oz. diced (1/2-inch) celery root
1 cup tomato puree (Amish Paste)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
balsamico and hazelnut oil for serving

Heat some olive oil over medium heat in a 5 quart enameled cast iron pot. Season the spare ribs on both sides with salt and fresh ground black pepper, brown them on both sides and set aside. Turn the heat to medium-low and saute the onions, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves until the onions start to brown. Stir in the sweet pepper flakes, the lentils, and the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Place the rack of ribs on top of the lentils, cover the pot, turn the heat to the lowest setting and let simmer 10 to 15 minutes, or until the lentils are just barely starting to soften (may take less time with very fresh lentils or longer with old lentils). Set the rack aside so that you can stir in the diced celery root, return the rack to the pot turning it over. Cover the pan again and continue to simmer over low heat until the lentils are nearly cooked (time??? - 30 minutes?). Remove the rack again so that you can stir in the tomato puree and fish sauce. Turn the heat up to medium low, replace the rack on top of the lentils, barely nestling it into the lentil mixture, and cook uncovered until the sauce has thickened and the lentils are tender (about 10 minutes? - I really need to watch the clock next time I make this). To serve, cut the rack into separate ribs,  place 2 ribs in a heated shallow soup bowl, spoon in a quarter of the lentil mixture, drizzle with a bit of balsamico and hazelnut oil. Serve immediately.

Made four modest servings.

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