Don’t for one moment think that a slow cooker is best used in cooler months only: Despite being on for hours, a slow cooker does not heat up the kitchen nearly so much as an oven, especially if you do as I did and place it next to an open kitchen window. A slow-cooker can transform any combination of food placed in it, so start thinking about the cuts of meat you enjoy in summer and take it from there.
Which leads me, naturally, to pork spare ribs.
Beloved of barbecue enthusiasts everywhere, you could use what in Australia is called American spare ribs, or in the US, baby back ribs, but I’m going for the cheapest cut of all – the big fat spare ribs that most commonly appear in asian style cooking. And then, I’m going to cook them s-l-o-w-l-y, because after all, no one wants to rush around in thirty-five degree weather.
You could brown them in the oven to begin with, which heats up the kitchen and defeats the purpose of using the slow cooker in the first place, or you can just throw it all in and leave it for 6 hours. Oh yes, you know you want to.
- 1 kg pork spare ribs
- 2 onions, sliced thinly
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup apple juice and ½ cup water OR 1 cup water
- ¾ cup tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup tightly-packed brown sugar
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp fennel seed (optional)
- large pinch celery salt (optional)
Place ribs in a large pot of water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook them for 15 minutes, then drain.
Place sliced onions at bottom of crockpot in a slow cooker. Sprinkle the ribs all over with salt and pepper. Arrange the ribs on the onions.
Combine sauce ingredients and pour over the ribs. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 – 7 hours, or HIGH for 4 – 5 hours, until ribs are very tender and falling apart.
Serve with a green salad, some garlic fried rice or some peach and parsley couscous.
$10.60 for four people