Pork Ribs with Orange Cabbage
Serves four persons
Since the Viking Age – and perhaps even longer – pork has been the king of the party table. Only highest ranked members of the communities were allowed to eat pork, while servants and slaves only got broth and flat bread. In ancient times, there were no yule-celebration without pork, as it still is in Norway.
In this recipe we simmer the pre-salted pork rib in water for a few hours first, which makes the actual baking in the oven last for only 30 minutes or so. The meat becomes juicier and the crackling very crispy this way.
Let´s banter after Christmas, ok?
Do like this:
The day before serving:
Cut squares in the lard with a knife or a razor blade. The incisions must not enter the meat, only through skin and fat. Rub in salt, pepper and caraway, cover, and store overnight in a cold place.
Use a large pan with a lid.
Rinse off most of the salt and spices under cold water. Place the meat in the pan, fill water just enough to cover the meat.
Bring it a short boil, and remove the foamy froth on top. Then let the meat simmer for 4-6 hours at around 175 Fahrenheit / 80 degrees Celcius. A good solution is to put the whole pan inside the oven, so that it don´t occupy the stove all day.
Lift out the piece of meat carefully, and place it in a pan or baking dish, skin side up.
The dissolved fat will float on top of the broth, scoop it up and store it for later use, for example to fry potatoes or eggs in, or to just use it as a spread on an open sandwich, Norwegian style.
The stock is many places in Norway used as a hearty soup – mølje – as a lunch on the day of Christmas: Crush some flat bread in it when serving, and you have the Norse equivalent of pasta in brodo.
Put the pork ribs together with a couple of handfuls of prunes in the oven at 300 Fahrenheit / 150 degrees Celcius. You want the crackling to rise and pop, but watch it carefully so that it doesn´t burn. You might lower the temperature a bit and spend a little more time on it, to ensure that.
Christmas ribs are most often served with boiled almond potatoes (or other small type of potatoes), warm pork fat (from the top of the broth), baked prunes and a fresh red cabbage salad with walnuts, alternatively more traditionally with red cabbage sautéed with black currant juice and some pork fat.