14 February 2013

Maple Season! Maple Glazed Spareribs and Winter Slaw

... maple glazed spare ribs with winter slaw ...

The sun's intensity is increasing every day, but at night the temperature drops right back down to the teens and twenties ... perfect weather for waking up the trees here in New England, particularly the maple trees. That means that the sugar houses will soon be swathed in clouds of steam, as the stoves boil off thousands and thousands of gallons of maple sap to produce New England Gold!

When you drive around the back roads of New England at this time of year, you can peer deep into the woods and see the gravity-feed lines that have replaced most of the old-fashioned maple taps and buckets. The scene isn't as romantic as in years past, when woodmen would hitch up the team of oxen or horses to a sled that had a huge tank mounted on it and head down the wooded paths to collect the sap from buckets that were hung below each tap. The labor involved in doing sap runs is surely impressive and the development of tube feeds to tanks placed at low points on the land was surely a Godsend for these men and women!

I'm just happy to head out and pick up the spoils of all that hard work! AND I'm happy to find new and tasty ways to incorporate maple syrup into our dinner menus - take spare ribs for instance! These were slow roasted with a bourbon, maple, and mustard glaze and sit snuggled up next to a slaw made with cabbage, apples, and pickled onions. It was a sticky, tasty supper for us in the grey cottage last evening! Leftovers for lunch!

This recipe is another stellar from Diana Henry's book  roast figs sugar snow -winter foods to warm the soul . If you don't have this book, it's worthy. Just sayin' ...


Maple Glazed Spare Ribs and Winter Slaw for Two
a Diana Henry recipe … decreased and fiddled with


1 long rack of baby back spare ribs
Pork rub – smoked paprika, seasoned salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, ground celery seed
1 Bay leaf
Two generous pinches thyme

Glaze -
⅓ bourbon whiskey (I used Maker’s Mark)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
½ inch ginger root, peeled and finely minced
4 – 5 tbsp dark amber maple syrup
1 tbsp. hot spicy mustard – Dijon, is a good option
1 tbsp. hot Thai chili garlic sauce
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Black pepper
Slaw –

½ a medium sized green cabbage
1 ½ c. pickled onions
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into matchsticks
⅓ c. low-at sour cream
6 tbsp. mayonnaise
3 tsp. caraway seed

Making the Dish:

  1. Rub the pork ribs with the pork rub and lay them rib side down in a long glass baking pan.
  2. Add the bay leaf and thyme, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let them sit for at least 8 hours in a cold place.
  3. Two to three hours before you want to eat, add about 1/2 c. water to the bottom of the glass baking dish, cover the ribs tightly and place them in a 275° F oven. Set your time for 90 minutes and walk away. Let the ribs slowly steam while you make the glaze.
  4. Place the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and whisk to make a smooth glaze. Cover and take off the heat. Let the ginger and garlic work on the sauce while you make the slaw.
  5. Thinly slice (or food process) the cabbage. Toss with the pickled onions and apple matchsticks.
  6. Whisk the sour cream, mayo, and caraway seeds together and toss the dressing into the slaw. Place it in a pretty bowl and put it someplace cold.
  7. To finish the ribs, begin basting with the glaze when the ribs have been in the oven for 90 minutes, baste every fifteen minutes or so for another forty-five minutes, covering the ribs back up between bastings.
  8. Turn the oven temperature up to 400° F and remove the foil cover, baste the ribs again and let some of the pan juices boil off.
  9. Keep basting with the last of the glaze and if necessary, turn on the broiler briefly to bubble up caramelize the glaze a bit on the ribs.
  10. If you like, save some of the glaze and drizzle it over the hot ribs or use it as a dipping sauce.
  11. Have plenty of paper towels handy when you serve the ribs … enjoy!


  1. Once, years ago, I spent a day watching how syrup is made. It was an academic presentation and kinda stole the romance from the process:-). I'm glad that over the years it has become easier to make the syrup. The ribs are nothing short of fantastic. I hope your weekend is off to a great start. Have a good day. Blessings...Mary

  2. Oh my! What a brilliant cook you are! And a brilliant photographer!


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