I love a feel-good story and the winner of the 2021 Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover challenge certainly has one.
Steve MacDougall of Blenheim lost his job at a local restaurant when Covid hit. He became a stay-at-home dad to three-year-old John and nine-year-old Komal. During this time he developed an online keto bread business to make ends meet. It became very popular and continues to evolve. Once lockdown ended chef positions were as scarce as hen’s teeth. Eventually he was appointed head chef last December at Mollies, a charming restaurant in the 1920’s D’Urville Hotel www.hoteldurville.co.nz in Blenheim’s CBD.
Steve was runner-up in the toastie challenge two years ago. This time he was determined to nail it. And he did, with his Mo Jo Pork Cuban with a Twist— slow roasted pork belly, provolone. chimichurri, American mustard, McLure’s Pickles www.cookandnelson.com and apple served between toasted slices of sourdough. It is the first prize he has ever won in his whole life — ‘always the bridesmaid’ as he said. Steve is developing his spring menu which he says is based mainly on locally sourced products but he will be including McLure’s pickles which he said have brought him luck.
I’ve based my pork and pickle toastie on Steve’s sandwich but made it a little simpler. It’s a super snack for watching your television favourites.
PORK & PICKLE TOASTIE
I used leftover pulled pork from a roast. There is also a precooked pulled pork available from the meat section of many supermarkets.
4 slices sourdough bread or ciabatta
1/4 cup chimichurri or basil pesto
250g pulled pork
1/2 cup thick apple sauce
1/2 cup sliced McClure’s Pickles or similar
100g fresh mozzarella, sliced
olive oil or table spread
Preheat a grill.
Lightly toast the ciabatta. Spread with chimichurri or pesto.
Place the shredded pork in a microwave bowl and add the apple sauce. Warm through in the microwave. Place on two of the chimichurri covered toast slices. Top with the pickles and mozzarella. Cover with the remaining toast slices. Trim neatly.
Brush with olive oil or cover with table spread. Grill until the tops are golden. Cut in half.
Can be garnished with chopped parsley or chives. Serves 2-4.
SAUSAGE TACO ROLLS
These can be reheated in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
4 well-flavoured sausages
1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 roasted red capsicums from a jar
salt and pepper to taste
4 x 15-17cm soft flour tortillas
2 tablespoons each: tomato relish, mild mustard
1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
Grill or pan-fry the sausages on medium heat until cooked and golden on the outside, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, sauté the onion in a teaspoon of oil, until softened. Drain and pat dry the capsicums. Dice then add to the onion. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Season.
Combine the tomato relish and mustard. Spread on one side of each tortilla. Top evenly with the onion combo. Place a sausage on the edge of each tortilla and roll up firmly.
Heat the remaining oil in a nonstick frying pan. Fry the wraps, seam-side down first, until golden all over. Trim the ends neatly. Cut each roll into 4 rounds. Serves 4.
SPICY ROASTED CHICKPEAS
These moreish chickpeas are also excellent as a garnish for salads.
2 x 400g cans chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
2-4 teaspoons mixed spices: eg chilli powder, curry powder, smoked paprika, cumin
Preheat the oven to 400°C.
Drain the chickpeas and rinse well. Pat the chickpeas with paper towels until very dry.
Toss the chickpeas with the oil and salt. Ensure the chickpeas are evenly coated. Place in a large roasting pan.
Roast the chickpeas for about 20 minutes, stirring often. Cook until they are golden and slightly darkened— crisp on the outside and softer in the centre,
Toss the chickpeas in the combined spices. Serve while warm. Makes about 2 cups.