Play it again, pork: Open-faced BBQ Sandwich on Texas Toast

I can’t resist a pulled pork sandwich when I see it on the menu at a BBQ joint (or smoked brisket, for that matter) It reminds me of my time in Texas.  So when I was faced with the challenge of what to make with leftover pork roast, my former Lone-Star self knew what to do.  Let’s pull this pork!

pork roast

I was working with a couple pounds of pork that I originally roasted with a brown mustard, brown sugar, garlic and rosemary glaze.  I thought these flavors would lend themselves very easily to a BBQ version.

pulled pork roast

I grabbed a couple of forks and tore into the pork that was leftover after yesterday’s dinner.  I patiently pulled the remaining meat apart until I had several cups of stringy chunks.  Then I started looking around for how I’d finish off the dish.

bbq pulled pork

I found a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Barbecue Sauce and some Mezzetta jalapeno slices.  That’s the ticket!  If I was feeling particularly ambitious, I would’ve made my own sauce…but it’s a weekday here, people.  I added about half a cup of the sauce and a couple tablespoons of jalapeno slices to the pulled pork and mixed it well.

Another element that you can’t leave out of a genuine pulled pork sandwich: coleslaw.  It’s the cool, creamy “Ying” to the tangy “Yang” of the barbecue pork.  Luckily, I had a brand new bag of shredded cabbage and carrots in the fridge, in anticipation of Fish Fry Friday (it’s Lent, after all)

cole slaw

So I mixed some coleslaw dressing, with a little mayo, white wine vinegar and celery seed.  Mix this to your taste.  I think the dressing is way too sweet alone, so I add the vinegar, but it’s not for everybody.  I tossed in the cabbage/carrot mix and let this sit for a couple hours.

Now-what about a “vessel” for my pulled pork?  Didn’t have any buns around, or bread that would hold up to the heaping pile of pork I planned to dish up on my plate.  What I did have was several boxes of Pepperidge Farm Texas Toast (thanks to a BOGO free deal at the grocery store over the weekend).  This would work if I went the “open-faced pulled pork sandwich” route.  No complaints here!

I grabbed a jar of pickle slices and some sweet potato fries to serve on the side, perfect accompaniments.  So I fired up the oven to bake the Texas toast, and fries…and heat up my pulled pork.  Once all three elements were heated/baked to my satisfaction, it was “construction time.”  I placed a pair of Texas toasts on the plate, then a mountain of pulled pork (and some additional barbecue sauce) and a generous scoop of coleslaw on each.

pulled pork on texas toast 2

The smoky, sweet heat of the pulled pork, paired with the creamy, crunchy slaw and the crispy garlic toast…I was transported back to the land of rattlesnakes and rhinestones!  This is a knife and fork kinda sandwich, ya’ll.  Giddyup.    

Stone Soup

Seems like a soup-y kind of Sunday.  The snow hasn’t stopped falling all day and I want a warm belly full of something hearty.  As I usually do over the weekend, I cook ahead to make weekday evenings a little more relaxing.  After poaching a head of cabbage for stuffed cabbage, I realized I had half of it left, and hated to just toss it.  I poked around the pantry and fridge and thought of the children’s book, Stone Soup.  The lesson it leaves you with: make soup with what you’ve got.  Pretty soon I had a pile of veggies, (combination of canned, frozen and fresh) that were scraps and excess from other recipes, plus things I keep in the house for precisely this kind of occasion.

stone soup veggies

I started by chopping some garlic, onion and celery and sauteed that in a big pot with some hot oil.  Once those softened I added some carrots.

stone soup sauteed veggies

Found half a yellow zucchini and some kale in the vegetable drawer…why not?  Then I tossed in some frozen peas and canned corn.  I eyeballed the amounts.  You can’t really screw up soup, right?!  I also reached for whatever canned tomato product I had in the pantry.  In this case, it was crushed tomatoes.  I put about a cup of that in and a full carton of chicken broth and some water.  After I seasoned it, I covered it and brought it to a boil.  Then I reduced the heat and let it simmer for about 30 min.

ladle of stone soup

Since the cabbage was already cooked, I decided to add that last so it wouldn’t break down in the soup.

cabbage

As luck would have it there were some alphabet noodles in the cupboard too.  Sounds like this truly would be a literary inspired soup.  The letters were the final touch.

Tasty, hearty, healthy and cheap.  A lot better for the sodium levels and the wallet than a canned soup.  I’m already thinking about a corn chowder using the rest of the canned corn, and the potatoes sitting on my counter.  Maybe next Sunday.  Chances are, it’ll be damn cold, and snowy…again.