culinary experiment: fall casserole

October 4, 2021

It is cold. It is raining. It has been all day. It is weather that calls for comfort food. But it is also Monday and there is only so much time to cook. Well I think today I discovered my quick comfort food for fall. Here’s how it happened.

I bought some ground pork earlier in the week, thinking I was going to make Chinese food with it. I ended up using chicken. It was actually really good, chicken and fioretto stir fry. Yum. So anyway, I had ground pork I needed to use. I also had two honeynut squash. (Did you know that the plural of “squash” is either “squash” or “squashes”?) Yesterday I went apple picking, so I have more apples than I can handle. And last I had some peppers left over from making lamb ragu last weekend. Why not throw it all together?

Cubed the squash, toss it in olive oil and salt, and roast it in the oven for twenty minutes at 400°. If you don’t have honeynut, use butternut. While that is cooking, sauté half of a diced yellow onion in some additional olive oil in an ovenproof skillet. Then add the ground pork and cook until done about 5-6 minutes. Add some sage and thyme. I have no idea how much but probably 1/2t sage and 1t thyme. Next, add two chopped apples and the chopped up remains of the peppers. Cook that for another five minutes or so.

To finish it toss in the roasted squash and top it with Parmesan bread crumbs. The bread crumbs are made by combing two slices of white bread, 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese, and a tablespoon of melted butter in a food processor. Pulse the bread first until it turns into crumbs then add the cheese and combine. Last pour in the butter and process again until the mixture is uniformly consistent. Spread the mixture evenly over the top of the pork and vegetables and broil until it is golden brown.

There is no reason not to make this again exactly as I did. In fact, I think if I changed it next time, my wife would kill me. But, I’m not sure the peppers are the best part. I’m wondering if carrots, or celery, or leeks! would be an improvement. Maybe all of them. Again, the recipe really turned out great, especially for something I made up on the fly, but I’m always looking at little improvements I can make.

I hope you give it a try. I hope you enjoy it. And I hope you let me know if you do. Cheers!

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