Baby Back Ribs & Young Collards Braised in Apple Juice & Whipped Sweet Potatoes

A Southern Style Meal for a Group of Yankees

My friend, Brady, made an incredible dinner last night to celebrate both our girl’s birthdays. He saw this recipe on the Food Network. It is Tyler Florence’s Baby Baby Rib recipe.   It’s an unusual way to make ribs, but they were falling off the bone good.  He served it with Whipped Sweet Potatoes that were out of this world.

Baby Back Ribs & Young Collards Braised in Apple Juice

Serves 6 to 8

2 slabs (4 lbs) baby back ribs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 bunches young collard greens, washed and rib removed
1 onion, peeled and sliced, 1/4-inch thick
1 head garlic, cut through the equator
1/2 gallon apple juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 bunch thyme
Whipped Sweet Potatoes, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Season pork ribs with plenty of salt and pepper. Heat a heavy-bottomed roasting pan over high heat and drizzle with oil. Sear ribs on both sides until golden brown for a few minutes per side. Pile both racks of ribs on 1 side of the roasting pan. On the other side, place collard greens, then onion and garlic on top. Pour in the apple juice and cider vinegar, add thyme, then cover with foil, place in the oven and braise for 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours.

When done, remove foil, baste the meat with the pan juices, then cook uncovered for a further 20 minutes until the meat has a nice carmelization and the liquid reduces, forming a sticky glaze on the meat. Place the collard greens and braising liquid on a serving platter and top with the ribs. Serve ribs over collard greens with braising liquid and pureed sweet potatoes.

Whipped Sweet Potatoes

Serves 12

4 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups heavy cream
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 orange, zested
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put them in a roasting pan and roast for 45 minutes until they are very soft. Remove the pan from the oven.

In a small sauce pot, over low heat, heat the cream with the bay leaves, then keep warm until ready to puree potatoes. Discard the bay leaves before adding to potatoes.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into the bowl of a food processor. Season with salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest, and brown sugar. Add cream and 1 tablespoon of butter and puree until super smooth.

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