I’ve noticed that the meat that I find the most variation of prices on at the grocery store is pork. Bone in chicken is usually between $1 – $2 per lb and beef is usually upwards of $5 per lb, but pork jumps all over the board! At my local discount grocery store I’ve seen bacon and various types of sausages for as low as $1 per lb and super expensive pork loins or rib racks at the larger stores for $5 per lb or more. However, I’ve noticed that the biggest sales and ‘sell-it-quick’ mark downs are usually on pork!
Whenever I find a good deal on something that came from a pig, I stock up big time. Later, I find myself staring at all the sausage or pork roast in my freezer, thinking what crazy cheapskate I am.
In these moments, I always consult my pork bible: the cookbook ‘PIG, King of the Southern Table’ by Villas. That’s how I found a great recipe in that book that was the starting point for this recipe; but as I made it a few times I started to change the recipe a little every time. I added more of the cheaper ingredients and and cut back on the expensive ones so that I could afford to feed my fireman with it on my tiny budget. I increased the amount of sauce to accommodate the extra ingredients. I put in some fresh herbs, just because I love them. And now I think this recipe is my own, with hearty thanks to my piggy inspiration.
This recipe is surprisingly simple for as many ingredients as there are! All in one pot you just cook your meats, throw in whatever veggies you’ve got on hand, stir in the sauce ingredients then let your oven do the rest. I’ve done this as a make ahead dish too, it gets even better when you let it sit for a day or two, just save the biscuit topping for when you’re ready to eat it.
Pork and Sweet Potato Stew with Herb Biscuit Topping
Serves 6 – cost approx $.94 per serving
- 3 slices bacon, cut to thin strips ($.28)
- 1 lb pork shoulder, cut into bite size pieces ($2.29)
- 1 onion, medium dice ($.29)
- 1/2 bell pepper, medium dice ($.25)
- 2 ribs celery, medium dice ($.11)
- 3 carrots, peeled, medium dice ($.20)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb, 4 small potatoes, medium dice ($.25)
- 1 lb, 4 small sweet potatoes, medium dice ($.83)
- 3 cups stock, I used veggie stock
- 2 Tbs tomato paste ($.25)
- 3 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbs grits or cornmeal
- Tabasco sauce, to taste
- 2 cups A.P. flour ($.19)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup milk ($.14)
- 1 egg ($.12)
- 3 Tbs shortening
- 2 Tbs fresh herbs, I used parsley and scallions ($.25)
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Start by cooking the bacon over medium heat in a large, oven safe pot. Once all the fat has rendered out and the bacon is crispy, remove it and add in the pork. Add a pinch of salt and cook until the pork pieces are browned on all sides. Add in all the veggies and saute for 10-15 minutes, stirring somewhat frequently to keep anything from sticking to the bottom of the pot too bad. Add the rest of the ingredients in the first list to make the sauce. Bring to a simmer, return the bacon and cook another 10 minutes while you prepare the biscuit topping. Taste the stew and adjust the seasonings before putting on the biscuits and baking.
To make the biscuit topping mix all the ingredients in the second list until just combined and spoon over the top of the stew. If you wanted to make it super easy, just add a few minced herbs to a prepared biscuit mix.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and delicious.