Friday, September 14, 2012

Using Leftover Pork

Back in June, when we held DD1's graduation open house, I talked about how we roast a pig for each of our children's open houses.  I mentioned that there is always leftover--mainly because Mother-in-Law raises the pig for us, and she doesn't quite get "it only needs to be about 120 pounds", so we usually end up with a porker that was 250-300 pounds on the hoof.  That's a lot of pork for one meal, even if you are feeding 100 guests!

None of the leftover roast pork goes to waste, however.  We put it all in freezer bags, send some home with relatives and friends, and put the rest in our own freezer to enjoy throughout the next several months.

Well, now that there is just one child left at home, I've made an important discovery: a gallon of pork only stays good so long once you thaw it.  Used to be I could take a gallon bag of pork out of the freezer, and three days later it would be all gone.  Not any more.  Especially with DH traveling more frequently for work.

Late last week, I thawed a bag of pork, thinking it sounded good since we hadn't had any in over a month.  And it was, at first.  For the first two days, the three of us had pork for dinner and pork sandwiches for lunch.  Then DH had to go out of town.  Suddenly I was looking at trying to finish a half-gallon of pork between just two of us!!  No way was I about to waste good food by letting it spoil in the fridge.

DD2 was all ready on the verge of pork burnout, and I was approaching that stage myself.  So, it was time to get creative.  I started experimenting with our roasted pork.  BBQ pork over boiled potatoes, and pulled pork sandwiches weren't going to cut it; we'd all ready eaten them too recently.  I had to branch out and try coming up with something new featuring leftover pork.

I'll share the two best recipes I came up with.

Roast Pork Quesadillas
For each quesadilla you will need
  • two large tortillas
  • some roast pork
  • shredded colby jack cheese
  • salsa
This is an easy one to make.  It's pretty much all by feel, so heap as much on as you want.  Heat your oven to 400 degrees.  Put one tortilla on a cookie sheet or pizza pan.  Top with shredded roast pork, as thick as you wish.  Cover pork with shredded cheese.  Top the cheese with salsa.  Then place the remaining tortilla on top.  Cook for 8-10 minutes, longer for really thick quesadillas, shorter for thinner ones.  When the top tortilla starts to brown on the edges, should be hot enough in the center to be done.

Not Your Mama's Pork and Beans
The inspiration for this one came from my current abundance of green beans in the garden, and thinking that if green beans cooked with a ham taste really good (they do!  If you've never tried it, next time you bake a smoked ham, pour a can of green beans into the pan the last 1/2 hour of cooking.  MMMM, ham beans!), maybe beans cooked with smoky roast pork would taste good too.

Here's what I did:

  • topped, tailed, and snapped the quantity of green beans I wanted to serve.
  • cooked them in my steamer until they were tender
  • put about 1/2 inch of water into my 8" skillet
  • added the amount of leftover pork I wanted
  • sprinkled the pork with some of the Pig Rub you can find the recipe for in my post on June 11th "Life Goes On"
  • stirred my steamed beans into the pork
  • put a lid on the skillet, and simmered the whole thing about 20 minutes.

It was just 'pork and beans', but man, was it delicious!

So, there you (and I!) have it.  Two new ways to use up leftover pork.

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