Tonight I made myself some spareribs & sour kraut with potato dumplings. Good stick-to-your-ribs eastern European deliciousness. And really quite easy. It's boneless pork spare ribs and a jar of sour kraut in the slow cooker all day. Best bet is to pick some ribs with some fat on them so they marinade in the melted fat and fall apart when they're done 6-8 hours later.
The potato dumplings are a little more difficult. And it's a hand-me-down family recipe, so a real recipe doesn't really exist. If I ever write a cookbook (which I doubt I ever will) I'll take the time to figure out measurements and temps and times... but for now, for a blog that only my boyfriend reads, this is good enough. Put a wide pot of salted water on and let it come to a boil. While it's getting hot, put some peeled potatoes in the food processor (or you can grate them with a cheese grater if you don't have a food processor). Mix the potato with flour, salt, a little bit of pepper, and an egg yolk to bind. It should be the consistency of drop biscuit dough. Drop by the spoonful into boiling water -- be sure to keep it boiling. Don't drop too many in at once because 1) it'll cool the water to less than a boil, and 2) they'll all stick together. When they float to the top, they're ready to be taken out.
Now, for most people, this would be good enough. And you can totally eat them this way. And they're really yummy. But my family takes it a step farther. With bacon. While the dumplings are boiling, get the fattiest bacon you can find (I prefer the extra thick cuts) and cut it into bite-sized peices. Start it in a large frying pan on medium heat. When your dumplings float to the top, remove them from the boiling water and transfer them to the frying pan. By this time, the bacon fat should have broken down and liquified and you'll fry the dumplings, making them crunchy &brown and getting little pieces of bacon to stick to them.
When they're evenly browned and fully fried in bacon fat, put them on your plate with some of you deliciously tender spare ribs, and cover the whole plate in slow-cooked sour kraut.
Good for your diet & waistline? Heck no.
Good for your tastebuds? Most definitely.
Christmas cookie and holiday pot-luck recipes to follow this week. I love the holidays. I hate working so much that I haven't had time to cook or bake much yet. I will also love tomorrow's leftovers :-)