Easy Au Gratin Pork

I’m the queen of fast and easy cooking.  I love to eat but I have better/more interesting things to do than cook, so when I come up with a fast and easy, I use it fairly often.  Wadly like really plain meals, no fancy spices or complicated dishes.  This is one of his favorites and easy enough for the beginningest of cooks.

This recipe makes enough for three or four depending on the size of the portions.  This recipe can easily be scaled up or down.

Preheat your oven to 350º.  I use a toaster oven which makes this dish very practical to cook.

Cube a pound of pork and layer it in the bottom of a baking dish.  The kind of pork doesn’t matter.  Using exactly a pound doesn’t matter.   Make sure the dish is deep enough to have ½” of head room once all the ingredients have been added or you’ll be scraping burnt white sauce off the bottom of your oven.  If you think there’s a chance it might bubble over, stick some foil under it when you pop it in to cook.

Peel, halve and slice two medium sized Yukon Gold potatoes.  These are my favorite potato but you could use reds or russets or whites.  I think the Yukon Gold have more flavor, so I use those when I can get ’em.

Dice ¾ cup onion.

In a sauce pan melt half a stick of butter over medium heat.  Once it’s melted and has stopped bubbling (butter actually has water in it and it’s the water that needs to cook off) throw in a heaping teaspoon of thickener.  I use Red Mill Baking Mix (gluten issues).  It has a lovely flavor which enhances both the pork and the potatoes.  You probably don’t have it on hand, so use flour but consider buying it the next time you go shopping.  I know both the health food store and our local Safeway carries it and it makes a much lovelier sauce than flour.  It also makes awesome fluffy pancakes.

If you’ve got it, add a teaspoon of ground flax seed.  It adds fiber and a lovely nutty flavor and is generally good for your health.  Ditto for where to buy . . . I use this in a lot of things for the flavor and health benefits.

Stir this mix until it bubbles.  Pour in about a cup of milk stirring until it bubbles and thickens.  Turn off the heat.  Stir in the potatoes, peppers and onion and a modest handful of grated Parmesan cheese.  Pour this mix over the top of the cubed pork, distributing it evenly.

Spread another modest handful of Parmesan cheese over the top.  Grate about a cup of Pepper Jack cheese over the top of that.  This is your crust and it will cook to a crispy gold/black and will be delicious.

Pop this in the oven for an hour and maybe a bit more (potatoes need to be fork tender).  Serve it with a nice green salad and some steamed broccoli and you’ve got a wonderful healthy meal . . . if you ignore the butter, potato carbs and pork fat.  <grin>

This dish reheats excellently.  It also travels well if you need a casserole to take to a get-together.

Last night I added diced red and green peppers to the mix and it was excellent.

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