Pork and apple are flavors that do happen to marry well. Sweet potato, that too, and I did happen to have a mucking big one that had been sitting around from an earlier farmer’s market just begging me to use it somehow in a meal made last weekend.
I’ve lucked into a good pastured supplier of pork, Laurel Ridge Farms, in Litchfield, Connecticut. If you stay away from the tenderloin, they are even affordable (and to be honest, tenderloin isn’t remotely my favorite cut to begin with).
1.5 – 2 lb pastured country style ribs
1 onion, chunks
1 large sweet potato
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
cracked black pepper
chili powder, your choice of heat level, but I’d recommend not blazing
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, preferably a good local source
1/2 – 1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 – 1 teaspoon chili powder
1.5 tablespoon mustard *
ground black pepper
2 large cloves garlic, diced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup water
Cut off excess fat. Marinate the meat in the above marinate for at least four hours, or overnight. Flip it over in the marinate periodically (and refrigerate of course).
Brown the meat in a covered pot. Preferentially use a pot that is also oven-safe, otherwise be prepared to transfer after the browning step. I covered it for ten minutes and held the temperature at medium high, then flipped the pieces over. This generates enough liquid that the meat won’t burn. After flipping and browning the other side, I drained off the liquid (reserve if you like, let chill in the fridge and skim off the fat for other uses).
It wasn’t quite brown enough, so I put the pork back for another five minutes — without the liquid it will brown faster so watch it. Remove from heat, mix up the sauce ingredients, and pour over the meat. Add the onion as well. Place in an oven pre-heated to 300 F for pasture-reared pork, perhaps 25 degrees higher for supermarket pork. I’d broken up my chunks of meat into smallish portions, and there was amazingly only one bone in this collection. Anyhow, cook in oven for two hours, covered. Check occasionally towards the end for liquid levels; you don’t want it to end up soupy but you don’t want it to burn either. Anyhow about 30-40 minutes before the end of cooking, add in your sweet potato, which should be cleaned and chopped into large chunks, oh about an inch and a half long.
Remove from oven and serve.