Leftovers? No One Will Know – Pork, Pear and Cheddar Open Faced Sandwich with Rich Gravy

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Happy New Year! 
I wish the best of everything to all of you for this coming year.

I am sure by now that you know that I love to spend time in my kitchen. I adore cookbooks and I love trying new recipes. I also abhor leftovers. There is nothing worse (at least to me) than sitting down to warmed up same ole, same ole so when I do have meat or rice or vegetables left at the end of a meal I try very hard to use them in such a way that they are a whole new meal.

I made a pork roast the other night; pork is one of my favorite meats and it is a rarity around this house. The first night we enjoyed it for what it was – a moist, perfectly roasted piece of pork. But then I had 3/4s of a roast left. Hmmmmm, what to do, what to do?

I had baked a love of King Arthur Vermont Country Cheddar Yeast Bread Mix earlier in the day. 
It was super easy to make and oh so delicious!

How easy? You took the mix and yeast included in the box and added water and either oil or softened butter (I added olive oil).

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Mix it up good. Once is was mixed you let it rise for about an hour. 

After the first rise it went into a 9 x 5″ loaf pan for the second rise.

Then into a preheated oven (350°) for 35 -45 minutes. Mine took 40.

Gorgeous bread! Light, airy with a delightful yeasty, cheesy flavor.

This bread inspired my leftovers dinner – open faced pork sandwiches! But they would be somethin’ special. ‘Cause that’s how I roll. Now to make these sandwiches you can improvise and use a different bread, another kind of meat (chicken, turkey, beef), you can add apple instead of pear, use swiss or provolone instead of cheddar – the possibilities are endless! The idea is to work with what you have but to make an ordinary sandwich extraordinary.

I used:

For the Sandwich:

cheddar bread (three slices)
thinly sliced pork from my cooked roast
1/4 of a pear, sliced thin
shredded cheddar cheese

For the Gravy:

leftover pan juices from the pork roast
shallot confit (you can easily use caramelized shallots)
black cherry balsamic vinegar (regular would work fine)
red wine
Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

I didn’t think to take photos while I was making the gravy – sorry about that! This all came together rather quickly too so it doesn’t take long from start to finish which makes it perfect for a weeknight meal.

I first toasted the bread slices under my broiler. Be careful! I’ve burned many a piece of bread by not watching or setting a timer and getting distracted. It took about a minute and a half on each side to give them a nice toast in my oven.

To make the gravy I took the leftover juices from the roast I had made the night before – I ALWAYS save the juices! They make a delicious addition to soups or stews. I rarely make gravy any more so I tend to just freeze any meat juices in ice cube trays. I let them cool overnight so the fats can solidify. I then take the fat off and melt the juices and put them in the trays and then into the freezer. Then I have a burst of flavor when I need it! This time they served as the base for my retro open faced sandwiches.

After the juices melted I added about 1/4 cup of water and maybe 1/4 cup of red wine. I let this cook a bit and then in went about 2 TBS of Worcestershire sauce and 2 TBS of the shallot confit (the hubby had put a jar in my stocking). I tasted it and it still needed something so I added 2 TBS of Black Cherry Balsamic Vinegar (from Devo Olive Oil – another Christmas present from the hubby). I was happy now and just added salt and pepper to taste. I set this aside and prepared the sandwiches.

Making them was a snap!

I took the toasted bread and added some thinly sliced pork. Then a few slices of the pear, more pork and finally the shredded cheese. They went under the broiler until the cheese was all melty – it took maybe 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. 

They smelled really yummy and looked delicious. Dinner was ready!

So very simple to plate up. Just put down the two halves for hubby, add the gravy on top with some parsley and to complete the retro feel – green beans. What else, right! They were leftovers too! Home canned, of course.

The combination of the pork, the pear, the cheese and the multi-layered gravy was heaven on a plate. It all just came together perfectly. It was so much more than an open faced sandwich and so much more than just leftovers!

As I mentioned above – this simple process can be used to create a delicious meal with any combination you like. Just taste, taste, taste as you are building your gravy to make sure it is balanced and will compliment your meat/fruit/cheese pairings. The hubby was licking his plate and he is not a huge fan of fruit in his dinner.

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