People love, love, love this meal. I have cooked this meal twice in the last month for 12+ people. Serge and Jimmie swear it is the best meal they have ever had. Donald wants to cook it with me next time, “I dont cook”, he says, “but I want to learn how to make this because I want to have it over and over again”. Frankly, I dont understand all the fuss. It is based on a meal I have had all my life. Come to think of it, I think it was one of our favourite meals as kids. Well, I cant give you a recipe but I will give you a “story of preparation”. BTW, this recipe adapts well to a vegetarian meal, just leave off the porkchops and drizzle with olive oil instead. It is also great to cook for a crowd as it is one dish for meat, starch and veg. I like it also because I get to use all the leftover fresh veg laying about.
So, here goes. I get my chopping board out and a nice sharp knife. I know I will be doing alot of chopping. I normally do 2 large casserole dishes for 12+ people. So, I put my 2 casserole dishes just behind the cutting board. I take out a pile of potatoes, onions, carrots and whatever else I can find. A month ago I made it vegetarian and had courgettes (zucchini) and broccoli (including the stalks). Last nite I didnt have courgettes or broccoli but had a big bunch of some sort of strange portugeuse dark leafy thing that people say, “kinda like spinach, you just cook it longer”. I start slicing potatoes and then take turns with all the other things in piles surrounding me. I wash everything well and leave the skins on everything but the onions. I slice as thin as I can, especially the carrots as they take the longest to cook. My animated husband helps by entertaining me with stories within stories of all things internet and blog and what people are talking about in the blogesphere. So, gradually my casserole pans got fuller and fuller. Something beautiful to behold. Look at how the colours play with each other. Two whole pans full of the vivid colours of playful fresh veg. I look lovingly at my sliced veg and give it a bit of a toss. My mom only used potatoes and onion and left them neatly layered. Uh, sorry mom, I am a bit rebellious, no neat layers of fresh veg for me. I give them another little toss about so the colours and textures can play a bit. I see a bit more potatoes than anything else. After both casseroles are full. Andrew is hovering now, the blogesphere stories have stopped and he is peering suspiciously at this large pile of veg that will be his dinner. He asks about salt and pepper and I tell him he can do it. Abigail has grated a generous amount of cheese, just normal boring cheese, in Portugal they have “flamenco”, in Australia it would be “tasty”, in America and UK I guess it would be “mild cheddar”. The key is a generous amount. I looked in the fridge and found a little corner of Brie and added that too. I really like some grated parmesan on top so Paulo eagerly went to the store to get some. Saying as he went out the door, “I love any meal that has cheese in it”. After the cheese I put 1 small container of cream for each casserole. I prefer 2 for each so I poured some milk over instead. I layed the pork chops over the top. Oh wait! Andrew has stolen my pork chops! Dang, that husband of mine. He cant stand the thot of me putting raw pork chops on top. He is looking guilty at the stove while he sears the pork chops with a bit of gravy left over from Sundays meal. NOW the pork chops go on and it cooks in a moderate oven for 1 1/2 hours.