Pork Chop Mac and Cheese
by: Marilyn McCray
One of the best parts of the 4th Annual Southwest Teardrop and Vintage Trailer gathering in Tyler State Park was the Cast Iron Cook Off on March 23, 2018. We joined the group just after acquiring The Ambassador, our teardrop in 2015. Jim and I have been collecting cast iron cookware and he found a great recipe for the contest in Southern Cast Iron Magazine October 2017.
· 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil, divided
· 1 ½ cups chopped yellow onions
· 4 bone-in rib pork chops (½ inch thick)
· 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
· 2 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
· 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
· 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
· 5 cups whole milk
· 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
· 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
· 1 ½ cups shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
· 16 ounces macaroni or cavatappi pasta cooked according to package directions
· ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
· 2 tablespoons panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
· Garnish – fresh rosemary
· Turkey, Chicken or Pork instead of beef. Or omit meat or crumble tempeh for vegetarian chili.
· Can of beer or lager
· A store-bought can of pinto or black beans or cook dried beans at home (if you must have beans)
Prepare before leaving home::
· Measure dry ingredients, flour, crumbs and seasonings, place in plastic zip lock bags – label
· Place pork chops in plastic zip lock bags – label
· Chop onion place in plastic zip lock bags – label
· Refrigerate in ice chest or cooler
On the campfire - Dutch Oven
Prepare the fire in time to provide coals for cooking. We started several batches of briquettes before the cooking began to have extra briquettes available throughout process. In a 12-inch cast iron Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, cook stirring until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove onion from the Dutch oven. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the Dutch Oven. Sprinkle pork chops with ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of ground pepper. Add pork chops to the Dutch oven and cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from Dutch oven and set aside.
Add butter to the Dutch Oven and melt over medium heat. Add flour, cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Whisk in milk, sage rosemary, remaining 1 ½ teaspoons each of salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, over indirect heat, no flame until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Stir in mozzarella until melted. Stir in cooked pasta. Top with porkchops, overlapping slightly, sprinkle with onion, Parmesan and bread crumbs.
Place the lid on the Dutch Oven, add 17 briquettes to the top and allow the Dutch oven to “bake” over 12 briquettes until the pork chops are tender, about 25 minutes. Garnish with rosemary to serve.
Note: If you are participating in a juried competition, cut the pork chops into bite-sized pieces before taking the Dutch oven to the contest so all the judges can have a taste of the pork chops
In the oven –
Preheat oven to 375°. Follow the campfire instructions using a 12-inch cast iron skillet on the stove top. Place the lid on the skillet and finish the baking in the oven.
Marilyn McCray is a published author of a cookbook titled Canning, Pickling and Freezing with Irma Harding, the International Harvester’s fictional spokesperson. Marilyn and her partner, Jim Kerkhoff, travel in a beautiful teardrop to promote the book and she has graciously agreed to share some recipes with us in a regular column. Be sure to check out her book at teardroptrail.com/equipment-and-supplies/