Thursday, July 26, 2012

Paleo Cajun Pork Spareribs w/ Japanese Sweet Potato Mash & Coconut Kale

Yes, I admit, this is a feast.  I was at the grocery store and when I saw pork spareribs on sale for $1.40/lb I could NOT resist!  Many of you who know me know how much I love #1 favorite meal as a child was bbq baby back ribs with extra sauce.  Of course these aren't baby backs, but they are still tender, meaty, juicy, and delicious.  For those of you who boil your ribs, stop it!  Boiling them in some sugar laden soda makes them have a strange chewy texture and just loads them up with high fructose corn syrup.  Trust me when I say that slow cooking them in the oven is best followed by a few minutes under the broiler or on the grill to caramelize the sauce.  Much healthier and much more delicious.  I have been told that I should enter a rib contest with these ribs... you decide.  I paired them with some hearty mashed Japanese sweet potatoes and some southern style coconut kale.  I hope you enjoy this American classic as much as we did!

An inexpensive feast to fill up the whole family 

Cajun Ribs & Spice Rub Ingredients:
1 slab pork spareribs
2-3tbs Cajun Seasoning, I used Webers, but use any one you want just make sure you look at the ingredient list for any unwanted additives
2-3tbs Seasoned Salt, I used Tastefully Simple because it's hands down the best seasoned salt out there but go ahead and use your favorite
2tbs paprika

BBQ Sauce Ingredients:
1c katsup (Get one without high fructose corn syrup HFCS like Simply Heinz)
2tbs apple cider vinegar (add more for a little more tang)
1/4c molasses
1/4c brown sugar
1tbs minced garlic
1/4tsp garlic powder
1/4tsp onion powder
1/4tsp cayenne (add more if you like yours with a kick)
Note:  If you are strict Paleo, omit the katsup and brown sugar.  Use a high quality tomato paste instead.  Since I only add this sauce at the end of the dish, you really aren't getting much sugar but please adjust this recipe to your liking!

Japanese Sweet Potato Ingredients:
5 large Japanese sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 stick butter at room temperature
1/2c coconut milk (this is an add this at the end so you can make them as thick or thin as you like)
1/4c honey (omit if you are strict Paleo)
salt & pepper to taste

Coconut Kale Ingredients:
2 bunches kale, washed well and chopped in 1" strips
1/2 onion, minced
1tbs ginger, minced
2tsp minced garlic
2tbs extra virgin coconut oil
1/4c coconut milk
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 275F.  Lay ribs flat with bones up.  Take a knife and carefully remove the membrane.  Rinse and pat dry.  In a bowl, mix your cajun seasoning, seasoned salt, and paprika and rub generously over the entire rack of ribs.  Place them in a baking dish (overlap them if needed) and cover with 2 layers of heavy duty foil.  Place in the oven and bake low and slow for about 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until fall off the bone tender.
2. Meanwhile, when you are about an hour out from the ribs being done, make your sauce:  place all sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Lower to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes or until spices have blended and you have a nice thick sauce (if it gets too thick you can add a bit of water and keep cooking it down).  Leave at room temperature until ready to use.
3. Next make your sweet potatoes.  Place them in a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil.  Boil uncovered about 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.  Drain, then add butter and a plash of coconut milk and cover with a lid until the butter melts.  Then using a hand masher or a beater, mash up your potatoes.  Add some honey and continue mashing, adding coconut milk until you get them as thin as you like.  Add some salt to taste.
4. Last, make your kale.  Heat your coconut oil in another large stockpot over medium heat.  Add onion, ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant and onion is softening (about 5 minutes).  Add your kale and saute until fully coated.  Add a bit of water (maybe a cup), cover and let the kale steam for 5-7minutes or until tender.  Remove the lid and continue to cook (you may need to drain some of the water out to speed up the process).  Add a splash of coconut milk, some lemon juice, and salt and continue to cook until the liquid has absorbed into the kale.
5. When your ribs are done, take them out of the oven and move them to a baking sheet.  Generously coat the tops of them with your bbq sauce.  Place them under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the sauce is caramelizing and baking onto the ribs.  Alternatively you could carefully place these on the grill for about the same amount of time to sear them.
6. Serve some potatoes & kale with a big serving of ribs and an extra side of sauce.  Delish!