I consider myself very fortunate to have had a Hungarian grandfather and a German grandmother. Not because their genes contributed to my curvaceous European figure, but because of the wonderful recipes their families brought with them to this country.
And even though the sticky, sweet, falling apart tender pork ribs were a big success the night I made this meal, it was the apples, cabbage, and noodles that really hit home. The very first bite took me back in time to weekend family dinners, raucous conversation, and rich, flavorful food.
For my version of the noodle dish, I chose the pink lady apples for their crisp, delicate sweetness which perfectly played off the soft, chewiness you can only get from egg noodles and that wonderful ‘funk’ you get from the tender cabbage. And using bacon fat instead of butter or oil in the noodles took that incredible pork essence and tied it back to the rich, roasted flavor of the ribs.
For the pork:
6 boneless pork ribs
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sliced green onions
4 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons water
Freshly ground black pepper
For the Noodles:
2 pink lady apples, thinly sliced
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 small head of green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1 package egg noodles
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons bacon fat
Freshly ground black pepper
1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2) In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, water, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
3) Season the pork ribs with salt and pepper.
4 Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the ribs and sear them until a golden brown crust forms, about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the ribs over and sear the other side until golden brown.
5) Transfer the pork to an ovenproof dish and deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping up the browned bits into a sauce. Pour the sauce over the ribs.
6) Brush half of the brown sugar and soy mixture over the ribs, cover with foil and place the dish in the oven. Cook the ribs for 20-25 minutes, until the pork, is tender, turning the ribs over half-way through so they’re evenly coated with the ginger-soy glaze.
7) Prepare noodles according to package directions, drain and cover to keep warm.
8) Using the same sauté pan, melt the bacon fat over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage, onions, and sliced apples, and season them with salt and pepper. Sauté until the cabbage is braised and the apples are tender 8 to 10 minutes.
9) Remove the pan with the ribs from the oven and increase the oven temperature to broil. Take the foil off and discard, and brush the remaining glaze over the ribs. Place the pan back in the oven under the broiler and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes until the glaze has caramelized. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the ribs to rest for 5 minutes.
10) Add the chicken stock and noodles to the sauté pan with the apples, cabbage, and onions, and stir to combine. Cover the pan and cook an additional 2 minutes until heated through. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the green onions.
11) Serve the noodles hot with the pork ribs.