Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Sweet And Smokey Ribs With Caramelized Onions

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It was touch and go for a while there, but, I was finally able to retrieve my last set of pictures for this recipe. It’s funny, you get so used to your computer, like a comfortable shoe. This one has been with me a long time so I have to make this post the last one that I will ever type on”old Betsy” before I put her to pasture.

Anyway enough will all that let me tell you about my Sweet And Smokey Ribs With Caramelized Onions #sweetandsmokeyribs.

First, I’m going to show you how to turn your oven into a make-shift smoker.

Second, you need to know, that when you buy ribs, there is some preparation that you need to do before you can begin to spice up your ribs.

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Applewood Chips

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 2 hours to overnight
Cook Time: 4 hours 40 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 40 minutes
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, foil, 2 large mixing bowls, 1 (3-quart) saucepot

Ingredients:
2 racks of St. Louis Ribs, each rack 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
2 large sweet onions, thick slices
1 bag of Applewood chips, 3 cups for this recipe

Ingredients For Dry Rub:
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons ground chipotle powder
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoon ground mustard
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons Ancho chili powder
2 tablespoons dried oregano (optional)
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika

Ingredients For Barbecue Sauce:
1 (28-ounce) bottle of barbecue sauce, Sweet Baby Ray’s
2 to 3 dashes of liquid smoke
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup apricot jam

Directions:
First, turn the rack over and on the underside remove the silver skin. You need to remove this because it will help your spices penetrate through the meat, and this piece of silver skin is not appetizing at all.

Take your fingers at one corner of the backside and start to separate it from the ribs, kind of like you’re starting a piece of tape on a new role you want to get started. Once you grab ahold of it, it should peel right off for you, as you can see in the picture above.

Next, trim off a couple of the end rib pieces. This rectangle style that St. Louis ribs are known to have will ensure for even cooking. Now, if you like those end pieces, you can, by all means, leave them on. It’s also a good idea to trim off some of that extra meat that’s on the backside, as seen in the above picture. I like the ribs to be neatly trimmed of any excess fat as possible. The picture on the left side showing the rack of ribs (without the spice rub) is an example of how I like my ribs to look.

Preheat oven to 275-degrees F.

To make my oven into a makeshift smoker. Add 3 cups of applewood chips to a large bowl. Add enough water to cover the wood chips and let soak for a minimum of 1 hour.

While that’s happening you want to get the spice rub ready for the dry rub. In a bowl, add garlic powder, ground Chipotle powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, onion powder, ground mustard, Kosher salt. cayenne pepper, Ancho chili powder, dried oregano (optional), dark brown sugar, sweet paprika, and fresh ground black pepper.

I know that’s a lot of spices but remember it’s for 2 racks of ribs. Whisk all the spices together then rub them all over both sides of the ribs. Place the ribs on the pans and refrigerate for 2 hours, overnight is even better.

Note: All of this can be done in advance.

On each of the baking sheets lay another piece of foil twice the length of the baking sheet. Spread out 1 of the sliced onions on each of the pans. The onions will act as a bed to set the ribs on so the heat can transfer easily around them.

In the pictures following, you can see to fold the extra foil over the ribs and fold up all the sides around the rack to trap in the heat. This will allow the ribs to steam for 1 1/2 hours. Low and slow.

Adjust oven temperature to 230-degrees F.

Next, uncover the ribs, place the wood chips in an oven-safe vessel, and place the wood chips on the lowest rack in the oven and ribs set on the center rack. Continue to smoke the ribs for an additional 3 hours.

I like my ribs to be tender but not to the point where they will fall apart when you cut them. This means they are overcooked. If after the 2 1/2 hours you see the ends of the rib bones are exposed on one end, they are done. If not, continue smoking.

Using an instant-read thermometer check the ribs for an internal temperature of 180-degrees F. With the point of a paring knife stick it between the bones, if the knife comes out easily they’re done.

There’re so many variables when cooking ribs, it just takes some practice. Getting to know your oven is important. The goal is to get the internal temperature of the meat to 180-185 degrees because the barbecue sauce stage is next.

You can see in this picture above shows the rib bones are exposed, and the ribs are still intact. Remove the foil pouches. Transfer the cooked onions to the bottom of the sheet pan and again place the ribs on top.

I’m not making barbecue sauce from scratch but I am adding a few ingredients to my favorite bottled sauce.

In a large mixing bowl, add a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce. To the sauce, add real maple syrup, liquid smoke for some smokey flavor, and apricot jam. In a saucepot over low heat, simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes. This allows the flavors to marry.

Remove the ribs from the oven. Brush this delicious sauce all over the ribs on both sides. Remove the wood chips, they’ve done their job. Set the oven on broil and put both racks back in but I leave the oven door cracked. The reason for this is so that the sugar in the sauce will burn really quickly so it’s important to keep an eye on them, it doesn’t take long maybe 10 minutes. Take the ribs out of the oven because they’re ready!

These Sweet And Smokey Ribs With Caramelized Onions are ready. Serve with some of that awesome barbecue sauce in case you want some extra to dip your ribs in. Talk about finger-licking’ good!

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Apricot And Soy Glazed Pork Tenderloin On A Bed Of Cannellini Beans With Sautéed Spinach

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This recipe is elegant and yet so easy to pull together for entertaining. The above pictures are ones I took the very first time I made my Apricot And Soy Glazed Pork Tenderloin On A Bed Of Cannellini Beans With Sautéed Spinach and boy it was delicious. I thought I’d test the recipe out on a few friends and get their opinion. It was definitely a winning dish. I did, however, make one change and that was to use the pan drippings to make this wonderful sauce to drizzle over the top.

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Sautéed Spinach With Garlic

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: minimum of 2 hours
Cook Time: 35 to 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven, 1 gallon-size zip-lock baggie, 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, chef’s knife

Ingredients For Marinade:
2 pork tenderloins
1 (3-inch) piece of fresh ginger, small dice
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup soy sauce, low sodium
1/2 cup olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Ingredients For Cannellini Beans:
3 (15.5-ounce) cans of Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
2 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced into half-moons
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup unsalted chicken broth

Ingredients For Gravy.
1 1/2 cups of unsalted chicken broth, plus 2 tablespoons
1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch

Ingredients And Directions For Sautéed Spinach With Garlic:
Refer to the link below, doubling the recipe for this dish.

Directions:
Place the 2 pork tenderloins along with minced garlic and chopped ginger into the zip-lock bag. In a medium-size bowl add apricot jam, low sodium soy sauce, olive oil, and crushed red pepper flakes, whisk to combine. Pour the mixture into the baggie. Let as much of the air out of the bag as possible, then zip it closed. Massage the marinade all over the pork. Place the pork into the frig for a minimum of 2 hours, longer is even better.

Now to get started on the Cannellini beans. I love to use Cannellini beans for this dish because they have a really creamy feel to them and they absorb flavors really well.

When you’re dealing with leeks you just want to use the white and light green parts of the leek. Cut the top (the dark green leaves) and bottom (the root), as you see in the top pictures. Leeks have so many layers to them, you want to rinse them really good and get any sand or dirt that may be trapped between the layers. Once that’s done, cut them in half lengthwise and slice into thin half-moons.

In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat add  1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, the sliced leeks, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Sauté the leeks for 2 to 3 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally. Next, add the minced garlic, stir through, cooking for 1 minute more. Add unsalted chicken broth, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low then add in the Cannellini beans. Stir to combine and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off, place the lid on to keep warm.

At this point, you’d want to start the spinach for this dish. For my recipe, Sautéed Spinach With Garlic, click the link at the bottom of this post.

Preheat oven to 450-degrees F.
Preheat a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. Using a pair of tongs remove the marinated pork tenderloins from the baggie, (be sure to scrape off any ginger or garlic stuck on the pork, allowing as much of the excess marinade drip back into the baggie) placing them into the hot pan. Sear the pork for 3 minutes on each side. Place the pan into the oven and continue cooking for 10 minutes.

Next, transfer the pork tenderloins to a large plate and cover tightly with foil. Place the pan over medium-high heat and add unsalted chicken broth. With a wooden spoon, scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let bubble for 1 to 2 minutes.

In a small bowl, add 1 heaping tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of unsalted chicken broth, whisk together until smooth. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pan and continue whisking until the sauce comes back up to a bubble and begins to thicken, around 2 minutes. Turn the heat off, the sauce is done.

To plate this dish, I lay out all those delicious Cannellini beans on the bottom of a large serving platter. Then around one side, I spoon on the Sautéed Spinach With Garlic. I carve the pork into 1 1/2-inch thick slices and arrange them on top of the beans. Finally, I drizzle that amazing sauce all over the top.

There you have it, my Apricot And Soy Glazed Pork Tenderloin Over A Bed Of Cannellini Beans With Sautéed Spinach.

Sautéed Spinach With Garlic

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Stuffed Cabbage

Stuffed Cabbage (2)

Stuffed Cabbage is one of those dishes I love to make for family and friends. I love everything about it. I like to start with the filling for these little packages of joy.

Onions

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eggs

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thyme (1)

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Olive Oil

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Red Wine Vinegar

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

Sweet Basil (2)

Basil and Italian flat-leaf parsley

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6  servings
Equipment: 1 (9 x 11) baking dish, 1 (6-quart) stockpot, 12-inch sauté pan, 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven, 2 large mixing bowls, 1 (3-quart) saucepot, Microplane

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of chopped yellow onions (1 large onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken stock, unsalted
1 (28-ounce) can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed lightly
1/2 cup of golden raisins (regular raisins are fine)
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large head of green cabbage with outer leaves
2 tablespoons of chopped basil
1/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine for garnish

Ingredients For Filling:
1 1/2 pounds lean (90% lean) ground sirloin
2 extra-large eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup of Pecorino-Romano cheese, freshly grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons of apricot jam
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
3/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1/2 cup of par-cooked long-grain white rice (cook the rice half-the-time required)
1 tablespoon of flat-leaf Italian parsley, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions For Sauce:
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onions, garlic, and tomato paste. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes until translucent. Add in the chicken stock,  bring up to boil, and reduce by half. Next, add in the crushed tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar, raisins, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, stirring occasionally, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Turn the heat off, add fresh julienned basil, and finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley.

Transfer 1 cup of sauce for the filling, set aside to cool. Set aside the remainder of the sauce.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepot of water to a hard boil. Using a paring knife, carefully remove the entire core of the cabbage. Place the cabbage into the boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes or until the leaves begin to loosen.

Using a pair of tongs, while the cabbage is still hot, carefully peel off each leaf as soon as it’s pliable. Place each of them on a plate lined with a paper towel. At least 12 leaves will be needed.

For the filling, in a large bowl combine the ground sirloin, eggs, ricotta cheese, apricot jam, crushed red pepper flakes, chopped onions, minced garlic, par-cooked rice, thyme, dried oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add 1 cup of the sauce to the meat mixture and mix together gently using a fork to combine all the ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.

To assemble, place 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish. Remove the hard triangular rib from the base of each cabbage leaf with a paring knife. Place  1/2 cup of the filling in an oval shape near the rib edge of each leaf and roll up toward the outer edge, tucking the sides in as you roll, like you would a burrito.

Place 1 to 2 ladles of the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Lay the cabbage rolls, seam side down into the baking dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the top of each cabbage roll. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour or until the meat is cooked and the rice is tender.

Serve hot.

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