Crock-pot Country Style Ribs with Grapes

The first time I made this sweet and savory rib recipe, I accidentally set off the fire alarm with the smoke from the browning meat. I was in a country house in upstate NY that instantly notified the local fire department, and so it wasn't long before a big red truck full of burly firefighters arrived at our door. They were very nice about the whole thing, and spent perhaps a few too many minutes lingering around the kitchen checking out the food.

"Feel free to set off the alarm again once that's ready to eat," they joked.

The next few times, the meal went off without incident; likely because I cut out the step requiring the ribs to be browned in hot fat before going into the slow cooker. After testing it both ways, I realized that I could skip it completely without really losing any flavor, all the while saving tons of time and clean-up. Total win!

This really is one of my favorite slow cooker recipes. Everything goes into the pot, is set on low for 8 hours, and is ready to eat. The fresh grapes are delicious after stewing in the red wine and broth for a few hours, and add a really lovely burst of sweetness to the dish. If you've never tried cooking with grapes, I think you'll be surprised!

I served this over a bed of creamy polenta, but pasta, rice, mashed potatoes or even a simple salad would also be a welcome side to complete the dish.

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Crock-pot Country Style Ribs with Grapes and Red Wine
Serves 6

5lbs bone-in country style pork ribs OR 3 1/2- 4lbs boneless
1 bottle dry red wine (such as Cabernet Sauvignon)
2 cups beef broth
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 large Spanish onion, peeled and quartered
3 cups seedless red or black grapes
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/4 fresh sage leaves
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Combine all the ingredients in the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Once done cooking, stir and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve with your favorite side.

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