Love, Hope, and Faith with Pulled Pork with Black Bean Cornbread Topping

This Pulled Pork with Black Bean Cornbread Topping recipe is the perfect dish to serve to cold snow campers who come through the door starving!

Pork with Black Bean Cornbread Topping

My family recently went snow camping up to Crater Lake, leaving Haggis and me behind. Which was just fine, exactly the way I wanted it. Happy, fed, warm house, cozy bed … we snuggled together while my family was out freezing, literally freezing, in the vast, great Oregon outdoors.

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Haggis was originally heading out with the crew (my husband and 3 adult kids), until they researched “no dogs on the trail.”

Trail? What trail? I’m not sure they were ever on the trail.

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Before they took off.

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Up by Crater Lake.

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Coming home to a delicious home-cooked meal made my family very happy. I’m so glad I had the Pulled Pork with Black Bean Cornbread Topping waiting, because it was exactly what weary, hungry, campers needed!

In the meantime, my husband shared his story on Facebook on New Year’s Eve, and I thought it was so endearing, and beautiful, I wanted to share it with you today:

Stronger Than Strength, More Powerful Than Power–by Paul (my husband)

We don’t know for sure. We guess the low was about -5, not counting windchill, which probably put the 4 of us in the crosshairs of -10 to -15 weather just below the rim of Crater Lake two nights ago. What we do know for sure is that something large and wild sniffed our tent that night—inches from Abby’s head–then patrolled on. We were too cold (and afraid) to open the fly to learn exactly what.

Our frozen tent smelled like pure and wholesome ice. Each breath turned to crystals that clung to the inside, making it shimmer like a cheap disco ball. The next morning was so cold that it was all we could do to break camp and escape to our car, which we prayed would turn over.

That’s when I faultered. Dehydration, hunger, sleeplessness, hands so cold they made me sick from pain. I couldn’t zip zippers or tighten straps. Garrett put my snowshoes on me. I still can’t feel my fingertips. But there’s a more likely and humbling reason why I felt doomed.

Though I approach 50, I still think I’m a young 30, able to play 90 minutes + overtime of soccer and make the winning goal. That vain deception hasn’t been true for many, many moons. Each step through deep and powdery snow stole life from me, exposing the real me. My knees buckled and my head spun and my stomach got worse. I kept eyeing a safe place to collapse and let fine snow blanket me.

No father wants to show weakness in front of his children. You want forever to be alpha, never omega. But that cheap vanity dissipates when you walk through a clearing and blizzard winds shove you in the back like a bully and you have no strength to fight back. When you can barely lift your legs like a drunk to a soup kitchen, when you lose the will to wipe the nose-sickles that turn you into a gross caricature to be pitied. I broke that morning. Prepare for crash landing.

Then something snowshoed toward me. My children put their strong arms under mine and carried me on. They willed me forward by speaking hope into their old man’s spirit, repeating the same lines I’ve told each of them when they were weak:

“Looking good. Almost there.”
“You got it.”
“Doing great, dad.”

Holy words that shine an odd truth.

My weakness allowed something that pride and strength oppose. It paved the way for their love to shine, and we’re all blessed for the experience.

Survival of the fittest? What a myth! Darwin was stolen from death’s doorstep more than once by his loving wife, something textbooks forget. Oh weakness, where is thy sting? You were mocked that blizzard morning. You’re mocked every day because a quiet irony swirls in the firmament above and graces this frozen land below, something stronger than strength and more powerful than power.

It’s God’s cosmic Love, who with her twin sisters Hope and Faith make the weak strong.

This New Year’s Eve, let’s do something truly daring. Let’s raise a cold glass not to our strengths, accomplishments or aspirations, important as they can be. Let’s honor what weakness and humility do, or want to do, with God and man: Allow love to shine brighter and warmer than we ever thought possible.

Thank you, Friends, for letting me share this beautiful story of love, hope, and faith from my hubby!

Pulled Pork with Black Bean Corn Topping.

More about the dinner. It’s an easy recipe!

Pork with Black Bean Cornbread Topping

Scrumptious!

Pork with Black Bean Cornbread Topping

It feeds a lot of hungry travelers!

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What is your favorite winter comfort-food dish to serve?

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Pulled Pork with Black Bean Cornbread Topping

Yield: 8-10

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Adapted from Rachael Ray December 2014 magazine. You can cut the "crust" or topping in 1/2 if you want to make it less thick on top.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup bottled barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless, country-style pork shoulder ribs, cut into 12 pieces
  • 2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 12 oz. frozen corn, cooked and drained
  • 1 15 oz. can Bush’s Black Beans
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 6 1/2 ounce box corn muffin mix
  • Scallions and more sour cream

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large, heavy ovenproof pot or Dutch oven, whisk the first 3 ingredients. Add the pork and onion and bring to a simmer over medium; cover. Roast until the pork is tender, 2 hours. Remove the pot from the oven and increase the heat to 400 degrees . Using 2 forks, shred the pork in the pot.

In a bowl, stir the corn, beans, eggs, honey, and sour cream, then gently fold in the muffin mix. Spoon the batter to cover the pulled pork. Bake, uncovered, until cornbread is golden and tester comes out dry, 30 minutes.

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11 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your husband’s post, it made this white Irish ass weep, beautiful thoughts. The recipe sounds delicious will give it a try.

  2. Hi Sandy,

    Thank you so much for sharing your husband’s story it made we weep and smile both!!!! So beautiful and touching to read this morning!!!

  3. I love so much about this post! The recipe looks like the perfect meal to come home and warm up to and I love even more that Paul and the kids braved the cold temps to go camping! It’s hard to admit that we’re not as strong as we once were. Hats off to Paul for sharing his vulnerability and finishing the camp out! xo

  4. Love that cobbler-like cornbread topping! Oh, I bet this is so cozy and warming on a cold night. Going to have to try it for sure, thanks for sharing Sandy!

  5. YUM! I love a good chili, pot pie or even a hearty chicken soup

  6. oh my gosh, I just love Paul’s words!! He’s an amazing storyteller…love it.

    I can NOT even imagine being out camping in that snow. I’m reading Wild right now…I feel like this is a part of that book! I am amazed by your part of the country Sandy, in awe of the nature and landscape.

    And this recipe is spot on, I can just imagine how it warmed up your hungry cold campers!! Great recipe and post.

  7. Paul’s words are perfection… I love his point about humility allowing love to shine brighter. He is such a gem, Sandy. Happy New Year!

  8. What a way to start the morning. Your husbands story touched me deep in my soul. What a brave, strong man to share this with us all. Yall are truly blessed.

  9. Man, Paul is such a great writer. But his greatness shows in so many other ways as well. You two. What a team!

  10. I love everything about this post, such a great story!

  11. So raw, so honest. Will toast to your family & their adventurous spirit when I serve this meal!

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