Pork and Potato Casserole

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My husband loves all things comfort food. When given a choice, he will always go for the stick-to-your-ribs food. After beer and chips, his favourite foods are meat and potatoes. I sometimes think my Frenchman is secretly English.

To use up the rest of my pork roast (which, by the way, made a ton of meat! I had to freeze half of what I initially made, and have been thawing it out to use again in other recipes), I found something I knew he was going to love: a gooey, cheesy meat and potato casserole with a gravy base. You can’t really beat that. It was easy to make and had all the heartwarming characteristics of a good old-fashioned family meal.

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Pork and Potato Casserole

Ingredients:

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

4 tbsp butter

1/4 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp poultry seasoning

1/8 tsp black pepper

1 cup chicken broth

1 1/2 cups diced roast pork

1 1/2 cup frozen peas and/or corn, cooked and drained

2 cups prepared seasoned mashed potatoes

1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheese

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Start by making up the mashed potatoes. I made my potatoes smashed, with the peel still on, because I was too lazy to peel them they are healthier that way – all the nutrients are in the peel, I swear. A little bit of butter, salt and pepper are all these need.

Heat butter in skillet over medium heat; add onion and saute until softened, about two minutes. Stir in the flour until well blended; add salt, seasoning and pepper. Gradually add broth, stirring until thickened and bubbly. If you’re paying attention, you’ll notice you just made a delicious gravy at this point.

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Add the diced pork and vegetables, heat through. Pour into a lightly greased casserole. Spoon prepared mashed potatoes evenly over the mixture. Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes, topping with cheese the last five minutes, if desired.

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For an added bonus, here’s another favourite of my husband’s: Shepherd’s Pie. I put my own spin on it, so here’s my recipe:

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Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs ground round beef

1 shallot, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup red wine

1-2 cups vegetables – chopped carrots, corn, peas

1 1/2 – 2 lbs potatoes (3 big ones)

4 tablespoons butter (1 stick)

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice

Peel and quarter potatoes, boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes). While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 a stick) in large frying pan.

Sauté shallot and garlic in butter until tender over medium heat (10 mins). If you are adding vegetables, add them according to cooking time. Put any carrots in with the onions. Add corn or peas either at the end of the cooking of the onions, or after the meat has initially cooked.

Add ground beef and sauté until no longer pink. Stir in red wine.Add salt and pepper. Add worcesterchire sauce. Add half a cup of chicken broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more broth as necessary to keep moist.

Mash potatoes in bowl with sour cream and splash of chicken broth, season to taste.

Place beef and onions in baking dish. Distribute mashed potatoes on top. Rough up with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. You can use the fork to make some designs in the potatoes as well.

Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown (about 30 minutes). Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown.

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Word of the day:

Torpor: sluggish inactivity or inertia; lethargic indifference or apathy; a state of suspended physical power and activities

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