Yikes, that title is a mouthful. Usually I try to steer clear of overly wordy recipe titles- one thing at a time, don’t gild the lily!
Make no mistake, the ribs are the star of this meal. I was tempted to just call this “Sweet and Smoky Slow Cooker Ribs” but then… well, the sides I happened to make that day played so friggin’ well that I couldn’t possibly not share those, too.
So, here we are.
Sweet & Smoky Slow Cooker Ribs with Featherlight Wasabi Mash & Wilted Chard…
Season 3 of House of Cards premiered on Netflix this weekend, so, obviously, that’s what my Sunday looked like. God bless the streaming age of TV, they release all the episodes at once so I can binge watch all my favourite shows and totally fall down the rabbit hole.
In all honesty, I think the Netflix model actually helps television shows more than it hinders them- if you binge watch, or even just watch two episodes at a time, you get totally immersed in the story and characters. I love HBO shows but I have to admit, having the “Previously on [insert show name here]” summary becomes 100% necessary when my tiny brain is forced to wait a week to see what happens next. Yeesh, Millennials!
Side note, does anyone remember TBS’s Dinner and a Movie? I’m probably dating myself just by mentioning it (also TGIF- anyone? Anyone?). The hosts would watch a movie and make a theme dinner to go along with it. Patrick Swayze’s Roadhouse? They made Cracked Ribs and Black Eyed Peas. Bridget Fonda’s Point of No Return? Bridget Fondue.
Park cooking show, part movie night (which, in the pre-streaming days, was a big deal)- of course young Finn was all over that!
In that spirit, I have recently gotten into making theme meals when watching movies or TV shows. Not only is it fun and helps set the mood, but it also makes ‘movie night’ an event again- it saves me from spending 4 hours mindlessly streaming Netflix while sitting in bed and eating chips alone. It’s an evening.
If any of you are House of Cards fans you’ll know exactly why this meal was the obvious choice. Frank Underwood, Cards’ main character, is a cutthroat politician who hails from North Carolina. His respite, during the first season or two of the show at least, is a tiny hole-in-the-wall barbecue joint in DC. Ribs. Greens. Mash. Even (especially?) politicians need good old fashioned comfort food now and then.
The trick to cooking perfect ribs is to slow cook them. This can be done in a smoker, on a barbecue, or in the oven, but I like using a slow cooker because it’s just so darn easy. Easy and foolproof. Fall off the bone perfection every time.
Now for those sides… just what IS a featherlight wasabi mash?
Well, it’s not traditional, I’ll give you that. But somehow it just works, oh it works so well.
One part potato, one part cauliflower, well whipped, with a touch of wasabi and a big pat of butter.
And the greens? I didn’t have any collard greens, since they’re tough to find in Vancouver, but I did come across some beautiful stalks of fresh (!), local (!) red Swiss chard. Any chance to cook local produce, especially after the doldrums of Winter! Saute with a touch of bacon fat and garlic, finish with a squeeze of lemon. Happy. Days.
A meal fit for a Majority Whip… or a (spoiler alert) Vice President… or even, dare I say (double spoiler alert), The President of the United States of America.
Now I just have to get Colin to stop referring to me as ‘Clai-uh’ around the house. (gotta love that drawwwwwllll…)
|Sweet & Smoky Slow Cooker Ribs with Featherlight Wasabi Mash & Wilted Chard|| |
- Slow Cooker Ribs:
- 2 racks pork ribs
- Rib rub (see below)
- Bourbon barbecue sauce (see below)
- 1 cup lager beer or chicken stock
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- Rib Rub:
- 2 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp seasoning salt
- 1 Tbsp dried parsley
- Bourbon Barbecue Sauce:
- 1 cup ketchup
- ½ cup bourbon
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp light molasses
- 4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 3 tsp liquid smoke
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Featherlight Wasabi Mash:
- ½ head cauliflower, cut into large florets
- 2 Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 Tbsp wasabi paste
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup milk
- Wilted Chard:
- 1 bunch red chard
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp bacon fat or butter
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ½ lemon, juiced
- Mix all your rib rub ingredients in a bowl. Rub your pork ribs down with rib rub. Really massage it into the meat so the rub becomes paste-like. Place your ribs in the slow cooker with the meaty sides resting along the sides of the slow cooker pot. Pour in beer/stock and liquid smoke. Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours.
- In a medium saucepan, add all your barbecue sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced slightly and thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Wasabi Mash: Boil cauliflower and potatoes in a pot of salted water until tender. Drain and mash well. Add butter, milk and wasabi and mash to incorporate. At this point, I like to use my immersion blender to really whip the potatoes, since the wasabi lends itself really nicely to ultra smooth mash, but that step is totally optional. Add more butter, to taste (although I appreciate we're all trying to be healthy- this is a rib feast, go wild!).
- Wilted Chard: Trim the ends of your chard stems. Cut the stem portions into ~1/2 inch pieces and set aside. Cut the leaf parts into ~1 inch pieces and set aside. In a large frying pan, heat the bacon fat or butter. Add the sliced garlic and cook until fragrant but not browned. Add chard stems and cook 2-3 minutes until tender. Add chard leaves and cook for 2 minutes, until bright green and lightly wilted. Remove from heat, add fresh lemon juice. Salt and pepper, to taste.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Gently remove ribs from the slow cooker and place the ribs, meaty side up, on the lined baking sheet. The meat should be very tender at this point. Brush a generous amount of barbecue sauce over both the ribs and then place them in the oven under a hot broil for 5-6 minutes, until the barbecue sauce is bubbling and sticky. We don't need to cook the ribs anymore, this is just to get the sauce nice and sticky and seal it on to the meat.
- Serve ribs immediately with a side of mash and wilted chard.