Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cast-Iron Pork Pie

One week ago when I was home in North Carolina for my nephew John’s 5th birthday and to snuggle with this angel, the temperature was 75 degrees.  Right now?  It is 34 degrees outside in New York City and they are calling for snow on Monday.  Somewhere, someone is enjoying some lemony pasta with peas and goat cheese or some rhubarb cake.  But not here. 

I’m still stuffing myself with hearty dishes like this Cast-Iron Pork Pie from the cookbook of my new-most-favorite-daytime-TV show, The Chew.  Yes, it is pretty much the only daytime TV show I know about but when I go to the gym during my lunch break I get to watch it.  The prospect to watch the show is the only reason I have consistently(ish) gone to the gym this past year.  My workout routine consists of moving only my legs on the elliptical machine while I read/watch TV – so basically a minor step up from 85% of the rest of my life.  This is, after all, my second straight post about a TV show.

Whereas most daytime shows are talking heads, these are multi-tasking heads – primarily in the kitchen.  The show has five hosts - Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall, Mario Batali, Michael Symon and Daphne Oz.  And they all bring something different to the table (ha!).  They force their celebrity guests to be the assistant in the kitchen and share recipes, even if the celebrities admit they just order take out most of the time.
This recipe is from Michael Symon—the meat lover of the group. You can make it vegetarian by substituting some hearty veggies like eggplant or winter squash.  (Oh, you don’t have eggplant in your store anymore?  I’ll ship you some.) Already the recipe has kale, onion and celery but it is still quite porky – and not in the movie sense.      

Cast-Iron Pork Pie
Adapted from The Chew Cookbook

½ pound bacon, medium diced
2 pounds ground pork
2 large onions
2 cups kale, roughly chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Large pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 cup aged Cheddar, grated

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a cast-iron skillet, brown the diced bacon and pork.  I just bought a ½ pound pack of sliced bacon and cut the bacon with some kitchen shears over the pan so the dices fell directly into the pan.  Then all you have to do is discard the (now cut-up) package the bacon was in.  Once the meat is browned set aside.  To the skillet, add onions, kale, celery, garlic, cinnamon, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Let sit for 4-5 minutes then add the meat back into the pan with a splash of water.  Mix the ingredients together and add the parsley, mixing once more.  Turn the heat off and spread your mashed potatoes over the mixture. Sprinkle this with the cheddar cheese and bake 15-20 minutes until golden.