Friday, August 26 –
Our second potluck was another great success. Some of the same people from the first potluck were there and we also had some new people that couldn’t make it last time. It was beautiful outside again, so we managed to make it another picnic buffet. I made stuffed pork chops with pomegranate sauce and also got a couple of different salsas and some chips. Other people brought white wine sangria, red wine reduction with fruit, curry chicken, custard tarts, potato and kale soup, fried fish, and beer cake. We also had a bunch of different kinds of Portuguese wines of both red and white varieties. Let me tell you, it was quite the feast!
Pork Chops with Pomegranate Sauce: I started with the knowledge that while I didn’t have a lot of time before people started showing up, at least I was making a lot of one recipe instead of a bunch of little recipes, so I didn’t feel quite so rushed. I decided to double the stuffing recipe and use 6 chops instead of 8, giving me a little more stuffing than meat. First came the stuffing, with the shallots and mushrooms and then breadcrumbs, parsley, and cheese. This came together quickly and easily. While that was getting all melty I sliced the pork chops open into pockets. I cut them so that one long side and one short side were still attached and the other two sides were open. Then I stuffed all 6 chops, setting them back on the cutting board. I used a big saute pan and browned the chops on both sides in butter. Then I stacked them together in a casserole dish and put them in the oven. Next came the sauce, with the pomegranate molasses, water, and white wine. I added the cornstarch slurry about half way through the cooking of the chops so that the sauce would have time to thicken. When the chops came out of the oven I put the pan juices in the sauce and set the meat on the cutting board to slice. Because I didn’t tie the chops closed they ended up squishing a little when I sliced them, but not so much that it was impossible to but them back in the pan with the stuffing still intact. Once I had the meat sliced, the extra stuffing in on top, then I poured the finished sauce all over the meat and set it out on the buffet.
The stuffing ended up tasting like Thanksgiving stuffing with goat cheese thrown in – which was so good I had a hard time not eating right out of the bowl. The meat was browned and good for pork chops. The sauce ended up really, really sweet to me. So if I had to do this recipe all over again, which I would, I would keep the sauce off and put it in a gravy boat and let people drizzle a little bit on top if they wanted to instead of drowning the whole dish in it. It vanished pretty quickly, so I know it was good, but I would have rather had much less of the sauce on top.
I’m keeping track of the ideas that we came up with for our potlucks here: Potluck Ideas.
Things I have learned: This potluck had a much better ratio of people bringing food to people who brought drinks. Keep that as a good goal to have each time. We also did much better at having a handful of main dishes, some side dishes, and some desserts. This worked out really well, and will be my goal for next time too. Also, with the number of people who come to these potlucks it will get much more cramped/friendly once we move inside, so maybe we will have to limit the number of people who get invited? I’m not sure about that yet, because maybe it will work itself out.