Back in Spring, our friends who provide us with eggs let us in on their venture of raising pigs as well, reserving one little piggy for us. Along came Fall, which meant harvest time for the pig.
Upon hearing that we would go & pick out the pig we would eat, my oldest inquired to have the pig with the curly tail. When finding out that they all had curly tails, she paused & requested, “How about the one with the curliest tail,” then putting her hands around her nose, “and the biggest snout.” I don’t know if our pig had the biggest tail or snout, but this little piggy has been received with thankfulness in our home.
In these blustery winter days, it can be overwhelming on the soul & mind for one more day lacking Vitamin D. It takes a bit more to muster up a heart of gratitude after the holidays. Give yourself a lazy Sunday, where you cut the meat off the country style pork ribs, peel and chop the sweet potatoes, and mix in the other ingredients to wait. As the pork is braising & transforming to tender goodness, take note of your many gifts of thankfulness. This stew brings out time, time for taste, time for us to recall all that is good and wonderful, especially in the month of January in Bellingham.
I adapted this recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Good Meat, in order to make it Paleo-friendly. If you are doing Whole30, then sub out the maple syrup. I think it is essential that lime wedges are served with this stew. That bit of acid brings it altogether, along with a bit more salt prior to serving.
1 to 2 pounds pastured pork country-style ribs, boned & cut into 2-inch lengths
salt & pepper
2 to 3 Tb coconut oil
2 yellow onions, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ cup chicken broth
4 cups boiling water
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilis
1 Tb apple cider vinegar
1 Tb maple syrup
2 pounds of peeled & chopped sweet potatoes
slices of lime
chopped fresh cilantro
Rinse & blot the meat and salt & pepper it lightly.
Heat the oven to 325 degrees and set the rack to the center. Put a big braising pot over medium heat, and heat 2 Tb coconut oil. Brown the meat, but avoid crowding. If needed, brown in batches, until the meat is a deep auburn color. Remove meat to a plate & set aside.
Heat 1 Tb coconut oil and add the finely diced onions to sweat them down, over medium heat. Don’t brown them, just lightly colored. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, or until fragrant. Add the chicken broth to the pot to deglaze. Scrape up the bits on the bottom. Add the boiling water, and meat to the pot. Cover and place pot into the oven for two hours to braise.
Stir in the chiles, vinegar, maple syrup, and sweet potatoes. Cover pot again and cook for another hour longer.
Add salt to taste if need be. Serve in bowls with limes & cilantro on the side.