We survived Hurricane/Super Storm Sandy! And by we, I mean just the Lehigh Valley, PA. I can’t say the same for many of those around us. Because Sandy turned just a tiny bit differently than was projected, we were spared the drowning rain. We still had fierce high winds and some rain which caused numerous power outages and downed trees, but overall, it could have been so much worse.
The sight of trees being uprooted and bending and snapping power lines was unbelievable.
I was happy to be snuggled in my house during Sandy’s rampage. The lights flickered frequently. We lost satellite TV. Our garbage can ended up in the neighbor’s yard. Shingles flew from our roof. But that’s it for my immediate damage. Hardly significant when I consider the damage along the coastline.
I think this picture says it all. A shark swimming down the middle of the street in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Not something you see everyday, huh?
Gives you an idea of how strong the wind was during the storm. Apparently, Sandy doesn’t like trampolines. I don’t either, for that matter (bad experience), so I’m with her on this one.
On Sunday, before the storm hit, I decided to make a crock pot meal from the cookbook I Love My Slow Cooker by Beverly LeBlanc. You can read my review of the book at Kat’s Book Reviews. I wanted something comforting to eat during the wicked gray weather, not to mention I had to cook a recipe from the book before I could review it, so two for two! I chose to make the Pork Paprikash. Smokey sweet paprika, sour cream, and dill characterize this classic Hungarian dish, which is traditionally served over buttered egg noodles to soak up the sauce.
This dinner was deliciously comfy with an interesting flavor palate. I loved the subtle hints of dill, the peppery warmth of the pork, the buttery tang of the sauce. Even reheated for the next two days, it was still sublime. I did make a few simple changes to the recipe, mostly because of what I had on hand and couldn’t run to the store.
I used canola oil instead of sunflower oil, baby bella mushrooms instead of cremini mushrooms, Greek yogurt instead of sour cream (lower fat), and low-sodium canned cream of mushroom soup. I also used chives to sprinkle on the dish when served instead of parsley or dill. Instead of tagliatelle pasta like the recipe recommended, I used good old-fashioned Pennsylvania Dutch egg noodles. It soaked up the sauce like a sponge.
Perfect for stormy nights when you want to cuddle on the couch with a fire roaring in the fireplace. Which we did while Sandy howled around us. I’m sure she was jealous that she couldn’t have some of the pork paprikash. But she had work to do.
- 1½ pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into large chunks
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil, plus extra if needed
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1½ pounds baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon dry dill
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup condensed cream of mushroom soup, low sodium
- 2 red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, seeded, and diced
- 4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- 10 ounces dry egg noodles
- 2 tablespoons butter
- fresh ground black pepper
- chopped chives, to serve
- Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Lower the heat to medium, add the pork and fry 3 to 5 minutes until brown on all sides, working in batches to avoid overcrowding in the pan, and adding extra oil if necessary. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pork to the slow cooker as it browns.
- Add the onion to the skillet and fry, stirring, 3 to 5 minutes until soft. Add the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and fry 5 to 8 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle the paprika and dill over the mushrooms and stir 30 seconds.
- Put the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the cornstarch paste and mushroom soup to the pan and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan. Pour the mixture into the cooker and stir well. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Cover the cooker with the lid and cook on LOW 8 hours. Stir in the peppers and yogurt. Switch the cooker to HIGH, re-cover and cook 30 minutes until the pork and peppers are tender.
- Twenty minutes before serving, bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add the egg noodles and cook to package directions. Drain well, shaking off any excess water, then return the noodles to the hot pot, add the butter, and stir until it melts.
- Spoon the paprikash over the noodles and season with a little more salt and pepper, if you like. Sprinkle with chives and serve.