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Spike's* pork, leek and parsnip in cream sauce

Time for a foodie blog. Frankly, I’m a bit strung out on politics and nothing interesting has happened (to me) in the poker world other than getting knocked out of last week’s tournament three spots from the money so on to another of my passions.

Lately I’ve been playing around with some very ordinary ingredients looking for interesting ways to combine them. I came up with this one the other night. It was one of those ‘holy shit why am I awake?’ moments where your eyeballs are open and your mind’s cranking away at 3 AM for no obvious reason.  My favorite trick for getting back to sleep is to take a wander through my mental ‘fridge to see what’s there. What was in mine that night was:

3 strips bacon — fried, broken into small bits (use thick cut, it’s so much better)

2 pork chops, bone in or out, 1” thick — brine for 3-4 hours

1 leek (just a bit of green) — sliced thin

1 parsnip — julienned

2 scallions — sliced thin

1/4 lb shitake mushrooms — sliced

bunch of herbs — parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme (pace P. Simon), oregano

2 cloves garlic — smashed, chopped

1 T flour

1/2 c cream

1/4 c chick broth

And when I played around with these I found a neat way to combine them. Like my ‘shroom and pasta dish, I’m wary of claiming I’ve found something new, but here’s what worked:


fry bacon, set aside, leave the fat in the pan

grill pork (gas grill if you have one, oven or pan fry will work), set aside

sauté leek, parsnips, scallions, garlic and mushrooms in bacon fat (add butter or olive oil if needed)

add flour, continue cooking for a couple of minutes

add herbs, cream and chick broth

return pork and bacon

cover and simmer for half-hour


A tossed salad and roast potatoes and it’s a pretty nice way to clear out some of the stuff in the fridge.

A word on brining: pork has become an almost tasteless meat, no fat and dry and boring. The best way to rescue it is brining. The standard brine of 1 T of kosher salt for 1 gallon of water works fine. Let the pork chops or loin slices sit for a couple of hours in the brine in the ‘fridge. dry off and do the s & p thing before grilling.

*Back when I played poker online my screen name was Spike the Cat.

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