In my kitchen, the “manager’s markdown” items at our local groceries are a boon. Today’s dinner menu is based around several of them that had been purchased and frozen for use on days such as this – when I can’t immediately think of anything to cook.
As I perused the freezers (a top and a chest), my mind began to formulate a plan. Here was a bag of pork chops, there a pack of fresh chives; here a red wine/onion broth from a previous crock pot adventure, there a package of sliced Pancetta. In the dry cabinet there were three large white potatoes. I pulled out a casserole style crock pot and some olive oil spray, and began to compose.
I sprayed the inside of the crock as it does not easily accommodate the liner bags I prefer to use. This one is a 3.5 quart, long and sleek and low. Perfect for chops and other such cuts of meat.
The potatoes were washed and sliced in rounds. This is how they are sliced for German potatoes (potatoes, onions, and butter, baked into a lovely hot side dish). they were layered into the bottom of the crock with a little seasoned salt and a light spray of olive oil in between the layers. This was topped with a sprinkle of diced chives, and a thin layer of the Pancetta.
Essentially bacon and potatoes – what could be a better base?
Roasted garlic schmeer
The next layer was the pork chops, the meat of the meal, as it were. They were arranged in a neat, single layer. A bulb of roasted garlic was squeezed out and spread on top of the meat. Already aromatic and slightly sweet to the taste, it would become moreso with this second roasting, flavoring the meat and the potatoes beneath in one fell swoop.
The broth was set into the microwave on low to thaw from the frozen brick it had become. Full of onions and based in a red wine, the broth was reserved from a previous pork chop crock. Waste not, want not, as they say. In this case it came in quite handy for another dish of pork chops when I had a noticeable lack of red wine available in the kitchen.
Broth over the pork, you can see the previously cooked onions
The broth was gently poured over the contents of the pot, covering every available surface. It was followed by a light sprinkle of seasoned salt, then the pot was sealed for the next several hours.
While the pork was roasting, the bread and cheese side was conceived, discussed, and executed.
Pulling out all the leftover cheeses in the fridge, we cubed them and tossed them in a bowl. This included all the odds and ends from a party and some bits that had just not yet been consumed. There was a bit of Monterrey Jack, a couple of different cheddars, a tomato and basil mozzarella, some Romano and parmesan, and I don’t recall what all else.
Using a can of crescent roll dough, it was laid out flat and instead of being cut into the recommended triangles, the seams were pinched shut and it was sliced into 6 squares.
The squares lined a pan of large cupcake cups. The cheese was liberally spooned into each shell. The tops and sides were pulled over the cheese and patted into place. The tray baked at the recommended temperature for 12-15 minutes.
The resulting savory pasty was nom-o-rific!
When the pork was ready, we emplated with the potatoes and pastry for a fantastic meal.
— Ann Cathey