Pulled pork and sweet potato hash with tomatoes

Man, we had the best brunch this morning. Best of all? It practically cooked itself.

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Last night we had some long-lost friends over for dinner. Well, it’s not that they were lost, but having a couple kids can sure make it seem that way (them, not me). It was great having them, but I was a little disappointed when the Japanese intern they’re hosting had other plans and couldn’t join us. I had really been looking forward to giving her taste of authentic American cooking – not the sort of canned corn and sliced hot dogs on Bisquick “pizza” that defines the Japanese interpretation of American food, but real southern food like slow-cooked pork and juicy heirloom tomatoes.

The menu:

  • Carolina-style pulled pork sammiches with kohlrabi-dried cranberry slaw
  • Sweet potato frites with walnut oil and Maldon sea salt
  • Heirloom tomato salad with parsley flower vinaigrette
  • Seven-spiced peach slump with ginger and pine nuts, topped with vanilla ice cream

I made my usual pulled pork recipe, but with two extra pounds of pork butt (and one less hour to spare in the oven), it was not falling-off-the-tongs tender. Tragedy! I ended up having to chop it up and mop it back through the golden fat to come close to the desired effect (the sweet-and-vinegar-y sauce that makes it “Carolina-style” also helped, as did the addition of a little gochujang for extra tongue-spank). Since I was engaged with my guests and their charming progeny, I wasn’t paying as much attention as I normally would on the fries, and they ended up a bit squidgy with only crispy edges (not all-the-way crisped like I’d prefer). Oh well. Everything tasted good, and that’s what’s important, right? Right?

The salad was tasty and fast: thick slices of three different varieties of heirloom tomato with a drizzle of balsamic/white wine vinegar, olive oil, and sprinkled with chopped parsley flowers (my crop has bolted) and minced shallot. Hit of salt and pepper and you’re laughing.

The dessert was really last-minute. I just sliced some nice organic yellow peaches, tossed them with a bit of sugar and a spoonful each grated fresh ginger and my homemade seven spice (this time with some pink peppercorns added) and pine nuts. I made a basic rolled biscuit dough (recipe from Joy of Cooking, halved, with the addition of a 1~/4 cup sugar). I rolled it out to the size of my casserole, dumped in the peaches and laid the dough on top. I jabbed a few holes to allow the steam to escape and sprinkled more sugar on top. Baked at whatever temperature the oven was already at (I think it was ~350), and pulled from oven when crust was golden.

But here’s the million-dollar question: What do you do when it’s 11-ish on a Sunday morning and you have a fridge full of leftover chopped pork, sweet potatoes and good tomatoes? Damn skippy – you make some fucking hash! Just chop everything (the pork’s already chopped) and fry it all up in a pan using a dab of the congealed, orange pork fat that’s settled into your storage container. When it’s crisped up on the edges, dish it up and slide a fried egg (over easy) across the top.

Since it’s actually nice out for a change, have the Hubz pour some mimosas, and go ahead and heat up the leftover peach slump just for shits and giggles. Butter some leftover wheat levain from Friday night’s orzo and toast in under the broiler. Retire to your shady patio and enjoy brunch while watching the hummingbirds drink up the last of the rhododendron’s nectar, and know that this is the life.

Yes, that is the Deery Lou mug from which I drink my daily coffee. No, I am not five years old.