Thursday, January 22, 2015

"The A-Z of Casserole Cooking" - Pork Chop Casserole

Date I made this recipe:  January 18, 2015

The A-Z of Casserole Cooking by Jennie Reekie
Published by:  Galahad Books
© 1976
Recipe:  Pork Chop Casserole – p. 54

Like most people, I hate to waste food and so for two weeks now, I've been contemplating what to do with three Idaho potatoes I bought for my New Year's Eve dinner that I never made.  I thought this would be easier; it wasn't.

See, it's not like I have 100 recipe books about potatoes sitting around my house and so I had to go through my collection to find a dish that would just float my boat.  Ten books later, I was beginning to despair. Surely every recipe book had at least one potato recipe, right?

Well yes...but no.  I was in the mood for a main dish but instead found recipes for side dishes, potato salad (not my husband's favorite), and a few for soups but I was running out of patience as nothing clicked.  I kept picturing a recipe for something simple like Shepherd's Pie but alas, if one existed, it was not in any of the books I pulled off the shelf.  I even turned to an Indian cookbook thinking that surely a dish existed with something like potatoes and peas and curry or potatoes and cauliflower but again, no.  No, no, no.

And then finally – finally – I found this A-Z casserole book and praise Jesus, at last I had a recipe that used up my three potatoes.  And it was easy. And it was tasty.  And hearty.  It worked.  It wasn't gourmet fare by any means but it worked.

Except...I needed three hours to cook the thing.  Well, this almost put me over the edge but I was determined to make this meal and make it tonight.  And so at half-time during the Packers v. Seahawks playoff game of which we will NEVER speak, I went to the grocery store and was back in time for the first play of the second half.  When your recipe calls for only a few ingredients, you can do things like that.  Plus, I even had time to gas up the car!

Upon arriving home, I turned on the TV in my kitchen and got to work:  slice the potatoes (thin), dice an onion, brown the chops and then open cans.  Combine.  Then put it all in an oven, watch the game, have a meltdown, pour a cocktail and serve the dinner.

Easiest dinner ever, especially during these "trying" times.  This may not have been the fanciest dish ever but it did the trick:  comfort me with comfort food.

Had I not been so focused on using up my potatoes, several other recipes in this book would have done nicely...well, except for "Creamed Kidneys."  This book was originally published in Hong Kong and definitely had a British flair to it.  All recipes were fairly simple and ingredients were listed by metric/imperial and "American" measurements.

PS—Any book titled The A-Z of Casserole Cooking had to be spot-checked to make sure it contained foods from A-Z and it passed with flying colors:  Almonds to Zucchini.  As the Brits would say: "Smashing!"


Pork Chop Casserole – Serves 4
2 tablespoons dripping
4 pork chops (loin or spare rib)
14 oz can tomatoes
15 ¾ oz can baked beans
1 onion, chopped
1 ½ lb. potatoes, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
¼ teaspoon dried mixed herbs (Ann's Note:  I used Herbs de Provence)

Heat the dripping in a frying pan and fry the pork chops on each side for 5 minutes.  Put half the tomatoes, with the juice from the can, baked beans, onion and potatoes in layers in a casserole.  Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with half the herbs.  Lay the pork chops on top, then cover with the remaining ingredients in layers, finishing with the potatoes and seasoning.  Cover the casserole and cook in a cool oven, 300F for 3 hours.

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