Polish Pork Ribs and Sauerkraut (Żeberka Wieprzowe)

Country-style ribs with sauerkraut

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  • Total: 2 hrs 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 2 hrs
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
819 Calories
41g Fat
25g Carbs
84g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 819
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 41g 53%
Saturated Fat 14g 72%
Cholesterol 262mg 87%
Sodium 736mg 32%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Protein 84g
Calcium 140mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe for Polish country-style pork ribs and sauerkraut, known as żeberka wieprzowe w kapuscie (zheh-BEHRR-kah viehp-ZHAW-veh vef kah-POOSH-chee-eh), is an economical, hearty one-pot meal. It's even better with a green vegetable side like Brussels sprouts with dill sauce

The sauerkraut can be rinsed or not, depending on how much sourness you like and the sweetness level also can be adjusted. This is an economical alternative to roast pork loin. While fattier than a pork loin, the meat from country-style pork ribs is succulent and, when cooked properly, fall-off-the-bone tender.

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds country-style pork ribs (cut 1 1/2 inches thick)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 to 3 dashes salt
  • 2 to 3 dashes black pepper
  • 1 pound sauerkraut (drained and optionally rinsed)
  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat oven to 450 F.

  2. Rinse and pat pork ribs dry with paper towels. Rub ribs all over with garlic, salt, and pepper.

  3. In a shallow roasting pan, place the ribs meaty side down. Roast 20 minutes, uncovered.

  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 250 F. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the ribs so they are now meaty side up.

  5. In a large bowl, combine sauerkraut, applesauce, brown sugar, and caraway seeds, mixing well.

  6. Pour the sauerkraut mix over the pork ribs. Cover the roasting pan and bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the meat is tender.

  7. Serve and enjoy!

More About Sauerkraut

The world runs on cabbage power. This versatile vegetable appears in many guises worldwide—both fresh and brined when it becomes sauerkraut.

In days gone by and even today in some Eastern European families, winter preparations began by putting up several barrels of sauerkraut. Depending on the size of the family and the size of the cabbage, a clan might ferment as many as 300 whole heads of cabbage in wooden barrels. Occasionally, along with the salt, spices like caraway seeds, wine or other vegetables were added.

By the late 1800s, whole heads of cabbage gave way to shredded cabbage being placed in covered crocks. If the family couldn't afford their own shredding tool, a peddler went door-to-door and performed this service for a fee.
After the cabbage had fermented to the household's liking, it was stored in a cool place and the housewife would pull out as much as she needed from the crock or barrel and prepare it primarily with pork if it was available or just plain when times were lean and money scarce.