Fall is the season for pork. To really celebrate this, gather together as many as you can of those you love, cook a huge ham, and send them home with leftovers. A farm-raised ham boiled in cherry cola is the finest ham you will ever eat. Trust me on this one, it is the only way I cook ham anymore. It always produces a moist, flavorful, tender ham and it doesn't taste like cherry cola.
And fresh bacon for breakfast this time of year -what could be better?
But the pork cut I really love to cook with is country ribs. Pork country ribs, when cooked long and slow, can yield so many satisfying and succulently melting pork dishes: browned then cooked in the oven with sauerkraut, carrots and potatoes; covered with barbecue sauce in the crock-pot all day, then shredded to make sandwiches; moist-cooked in the oven or pressure-cooker, then basted with a honey-soy glaze, and crisped under the broiler; and in Moroccan-style Pork with sweet potatoes and dried fruit.
The Gold Nugget Squash we grow in our garden was developed to be used as a substitute for sweet potatoes in colder, short season climates, like here in the Pacific Northwest. Libby's, famous for canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie filling, uses Hubbard squash and not pumpkin. Pumpkin just sounds so much nicer than squash, and now is the time to start harvesting and enjoying them.
I substituted dried pears and some dried plums (which sounds so much nicer than prunes) for the apricots and raisins in this recipe, to make the sort of casserole that really celebrates our local seasonal foods. It is as much Pacific Northwest-style, as it is Moroccan-style, and absolutely delicious.
Pork, Pumpkin and Pears
1-2 lbs. pork country ribs, cut in thirds with bones left in
Sprinkle generously with soy sauce and curry powder.
Heat 1 T. olive oil in enameled dutch oven and brown pork.
2 c. seeded, peeled Gold Nugget Squash, cut into large chunks
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into large chunks
1/2 c. chopped dried pears and plums
1/2 c. OJ
1/2 -15 oz. can lite coconut milk (freeze second half for other use)
Cover and bake in 350 degree oven for 2 hours. Serve with cooked couscous and a green vegetable.