Boneless pork ribs (enough for the # of people - usually 2 or 3 ribs per person)
Cast iron skillet
Roasting pan (blue porcelain oval pan with lid that we cook turkey in at Thanksgiving)
Put a small spoon of lard into skillet, over a medium heat (gas or electric) as fat for frying - just enough to wet the bottom - no depth. Place the ribs in and sear on all four sides until have good caramelized sear on outside. Just a couple minutes - do NOT want the ribs cooked here. Sauteed onions are optional at this point...I don't use them. Some do.
Grease the roaster pan with lard like you would a cake pan - don't want things to stick. Place the seared ribs on bottom of pan. Can use smaller pan, depending on number of ribs. We pack them in tight, because there are always a lot of people to feed.
Pour sauerkraut over the ribs, covering with about an inch or so. If looks dry, add a half can of water to the pan - but no more, 'cause the kraut has moisture. Cover and place in the oven - low heat, about 325 degrees F. Bake for a couple hours until the ribs are very tender - to the point of falling apart. Remove cover for about 20 minutes to let the top get a little "crispy/crunchy" top...optional, but we like it.
Serve with black eyed peas, cooked with a couple strips of soft fried bacon. Some salt. Bake some cornbread and serve hot with real butter and honey.
Little bit of whiskey doesn't hurt anything at all!!
This has been a 'southern' thing in the family for those years. I have also heard Polish friends talk about essentially the same thing, but with mashed potatoes. Good food knows no national boundaries!!
One quick point about oil versus lard. I like lard. The family elders lived long healthy lives cooking with it. My generation is dropping like flies and have used the refined oils and shortenings. I switched over 10 years ago back to lard for most of my frying. If you want to use oil, feel free..it tastes almost the same. With one exception. I have used a lot of different oils looking for the "one" that has a high smoke point and is considered "healthy". Canola is real popular in this country for some reason that I don't really get. Yes, it has high smoke point, and is supposed to be healthy...the real name is rapeseed, so I'm kind of hung up on that a little bit...Canola is an artificial propaganda construct of the oil industry. All that aside - I have used canola and have a bottle in the cabinet now. The REAL issue I have with it is that when I use it for frying at the higher end of the temperature range, I invariably end up with the smell of fried fish in the pan and lightly detectable in the food. And I NEVER fry fish in my cast iron. So, I don't know how it gets there, but I smell it - has to be from the oil. I like fish, but don't really want the smell in other foods. Peanut oil works ok, too, with no fish smell.
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