Inspiration struck when I found myself with a piece of pork roast and a vegetable rack with practically nothing in it except four large leeks.
The result was excellent, though I say it myself. I also managed to find an inspired use for the leftovers, something a bit different from normal (see recipe). Pork is not expensive and we got two good meals out of this, so it definitely counts as frugal food.
pork roast, about 600g
2 cloves garlic
1 small glass white wine or Noilly Prat
2 tbs grainy Dijon mustard
2-3 tbs crème fraîche
salt and pepper
Clean, trim, and slice the leeks. Crush the garlic. Heat the oil in a heavy casserole, add the leeks and garlic, and cook gently for a few minutes. Then pour in the glass of wine, let it bubble, and then cover and leave to simmer gently while you deal with the pork. Incidentally, Noilly Prat is my go-to solution for adding a winey flavour without opening a bottle of wine, but it’s hardly a frugal ingredient!
Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat some more oil in a frying pan and brown the piece of pork on all sides. Then put it on top of the leeks, cover, and simmer gently for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, till the pork is cooked (I just popped it on top of the wood burner, which is great for slow cooking).
When the pork is done, leave aside in a warm place to rest. The leeks should be very soft and melting by now, and have released a fair amount of juice. Add a dollop of mustard of your choice (I used grainy) and the cream. Raise the heat and bubble to reduce and thicken the sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning. Slice the pork and serve with the sauce and some nice creamy mashed potatoes.
Left-overs: left-over pork is a bit uninspiring, but I was really pleased with this idea. I roughly diced the pork (if it’s very fatty you might want to trim off some of the fat) and then minced it in the food processor. Then I tipped it into a bowl and added the finely grated zest and the juice of a lemon, a handful of breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, some chopped parsley, a couple of tablespoons of grated Parmesan, and a beaten egg. I mixed it all together, then formed it into balls, rolled them in flour, and browned them in olive oil (turning carefully to avoid breaking them), before adding another glug of white wine to stop them sticking or burning. I cooked them for about 10 minutes and served with pasta and the remaining leek sauce (but if you didn’t have any of that left over, they would go perfectly well with a tomato sauce). Or use more wine and water to cook them, and serve with the reduced cooking juices and maybe a squirt of lemon juice.
Of course if you had fresh pork you could use that instead; in that case I’d cook them for about 20 minutes.