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Tastes of Home part three - Spare ribs Irish style

By March 14, 2015 , , , , ,

In a few days it will be St Patrick's day and I always like to cook my favourite dish.

I was glad to find out when I moved to the Netherlands that spare ribs were very popular here, but not the spare ribs I grew up with.

When you think of ribs, you probably have a vision in your mind of barbecue ribs or Chinese ribs with a sticky sauce, well think again.

In Ireland, we do have the sticky versions but we also have a salted or cured version which is what I grew up eating. It was only when I moved to the UK and found that spare ribs as I knew them (cured) didn't exist in butchers and if I wanted spare ribs, I would have to cure them myself.

I thought it would be a long drawn out process but like curing your own bacon it is a very simple process, but takes time. 
Allow yourself up to 14 days to cure the ribs before cooking.




So if you follow the method that I used for making your own bacon then you are halfway there. 

30g salt to 1 kg ribs

Rub the salt all over the ribs, making sure they are completely covered
Either vacuum pack or place in a ziplock freezer bag and place in the fridge for 7 - 14 days
If using the freezer bag method then ensure you turn the bag every day for 14 days

You can also "wet cure" the ribs by brining them in a 5% salt solution (50g salt to one litre of water) for 14 days. 
Just make sure you have a lid to cover the container with the brine in it.






If using the dry cure method. First rub the salt cure into the ribs, then either vacuum pack the ribs and leave for up to 5 days in the fridge or place in a plastic ziplock bag in the fridge and turn the ribs every day.




The next stage is the cooking and the traditional way to serve this is as a one pot dish.

Spare ribs with potatoes and cabbage

1 kilo cured spare ribs

1/2 a head of spring cabbage (separated into leaves with mid vein removed)
4 potatoes washed and quartered, no need to peel if you so wish.

Wash the ribs to remove excess cure or salt
Place in a pan of water and bring to the boil
Lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours until they are almost coming apart
Then add the cabbage to the pot
After 10 minutes add the potatoes
Check the potatoes for done-ness after 7 minutes (a knife should pierce them easily).
Drain the water from the pot.

Serve and enjoy!

Growing up we served this with the ribs taken out of the pot and placed on one plate where everyone helped themselves from (or in my case tried to eat as many as possible) and the potatoes and cabbage on other plates.
With the potato and cabbage I like to mash them together with some butter, but that's my preference.

You can also serve this with cally (aka champ), which is mashed potatoes with scallions.

Cally
300g  potato mash
50g butter
6 Scallions finely chopped

Lightly fry the scallions in the butter till softened
Add to the mash and stir through till well combined








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