Braised Pork with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Rob doesnt like pork.  Well he likes ham, sausage and bacon, but not pork loin, or chops or a roast.  Then last week,  he randomly asks for pork chops.  Which he has not done in like 2 years.  Literally.  So when he asked I got some pork chops at the next grocery visit.  

I had seen a couple of recipes that I wanted to combine and make into something new.  One was on some show on Food Network.  I cannot for the life of me remember which show cause I was one day post op from my surgery and I was pretty much feeling no pain on Vicoden.  The other was an article about braising meat in tomato sauce and how the acid in the tomato was great for tough meat.   Then Pioneer Woman posted her braised short ribs recipe and it was incredibly similar.  That kind of was three strikes you were out and I knew what I wanted to do!  So this is an combination of all those elements.

I have to say one thing.  I am a strong lover of low and slow but there is a fine line for me.  I am not one who can handle crock pot meat or things that have been cooked for 15 hours cause it tends to get too overcooked.  That being said I have had bbq that was cooked forever but wasnt icky but not too often.  So this recipe was a test to see what was the best time and the best temp so that the meat was tender but not too over cooked for me. 

I am happy to say that I did a good job, Rob loved it and the kids, well they are not a good indicator, I have seen Nik eat a hotdog off the ground outside.  And not when he was a kid either, this was last summer.    Even I ate a whole pork chop!  I usually dont get through a whole plate of food.  LOL

Total prep and cook time: 4 hours
3 pounds pork country short ribs thicker cut
1 large onion
4-5 cloves garlic
14 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp chili powder
S & P

Cast of Characters (notice the onion and garlic are missing.. I always forget something.

Start off my adding some oil to a large dutch oven or in my case my Pampered Chef wok.  Preheat the oven to 275.

Trim all the fat you can off the pork ribs.  Rob hates fatty meat.  I have seen him throw away half of what I give him because it has a molecule of fat on it.  So I always look for the leanest of any meat possible and cut off more if I can.

Rob loves to take pics of me while I am cooking and I usually delete them but this one isnt too bad, its only bad, not too bad.  HAHA  I am so glad I am working on my double chins!  And please ignore the attire and hair.  I am only 4 days out from surgery at this point and I am cold, tired and still on pain killers.. I should be happy I didnt burn the house down. 

Back to the recipe.  I mean it is why I am here, right?   Salt and pepper your ribs.

Layer your ribs in a blistering hot pan so they are not crowded and brown them to a nice golden brown.  This may take only doing half at a time.

Turn on all sides to get browned evenly.

While they are browning, chop up your onions and garlic.

Once the ribs are done set aside on a plate, turn your pan down to medium and add the onions.

Once the onions are translucent add your garlic.  If you add the garlic too soon it can burn.  I have found that I personally like the taste of the garlic better when it has been almost steamed by the fluid released from the other veggies. 

Once the garlic has cooked for a minute or two add the diced tomatoes.

Then your spices and salt and pepper to taste.

Add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine.

Bury your ribs into the sauce.

Then any juices lost on the plate.

Throw on the cover and get it into the oven.  For 3 1/2 hours.  Do NOT peek.   Do not try and take a test bite while it is in the bubbling sauce and burn your tongue during the cooking process.  Just dont do it.  Trust me.   When it is done take it out and behold your big pot of yumminess.

There will be some wells of fat, skim them off.  Or you can do what Ree of Pioneer Woman does and make it the night before and chill it to get the fat chunks out but for me, I prefer it the night it is cooked, so I just skimmed.  And then plated it up with some pasta and veggies.

I love meals like this.  They are warm and filling and the house smells fantastic.  This whole meal with egg noodles and veggies cost about $15 to make and it served me three meals, Rob one and the boys the equivalent of two each cause they eat almost two full servings that night.  I am sure this would work well with other forms of pork and certainly beef as well.  Chicken and slow cooking are not something that I really enjoy since I use primarily breasts.    Maybe I should try it with thighs.. wait Rob doesnt like dark meat.  Oh well.

Happy Cooking!!