Evenings in a French Kitchen after Days Spent on the Sporting Road with Paper Hulls, Silk Lines, and Fast Horses

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Visit Our New Site at www.sportingroad.com

www.sportingroad.comThis is our old site.  Visit the new one at www.sportingroad.com.

Video

Denver Magazine – Video from the Denver 20/30 Polo Classic

This video was just released for public distribution, after being featured in Denver Magazine and features the 2010 Denver Polo Classic.  We think it’s a hit as we are in the video, as our many of our friends.  Keep an eye out for the 2013 Denver Polo Classic videos, which should be out soon.

 

Bear Your Part in the Battle of Life

Angling teaches a man patience and self control; (fox) hunting improves not only good horsemanship, but pluck and observation; whilst shooting inculcates quickness of hand and eye coupled with endurance and the power of bearing fatigue; football, cricket, rowing, rackets, tennis all bring to the front and encourage qualities that are essentially manly; and perhaps no sport tends to combine all these lessons so much as polo, none makes a man more a man than this entrancing game, none fits him more for the sterner joys of war or enables him better to bear his part in the battle of life.”    – J. Moray Brown, Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes, 1891

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And, while you are at it, check out the new United States Polo Association website.

Watch the 2013 United States Polo Association Open Featuring Colorado’s Team – Valiente

Published on Apr 27, 2013

US Polo Open 2013

As featured on YouTube from the USPA website.

The Kluge Picnic Hamper

The ultimate picnic hamper was featured in the 2005 Christy’s auction of the contents of Albemarle House, Patricia Kluge’s estate in Virginia.  This is the ultimate picnic hamper.
Lindaraxa.blogspot.com writes, “Commissioned in the 1980’s by the Kluges from the London firm of Asprey, jewellers and silversmith to the British Royal Family, this picnic hamper is the pinnacle of sophistication. Containing a full service of just about everything imaginable for a party of sixteen, the hamper can be towed to the perfect picnic location by hooking it to the back of a tractor. The wicker trailer holds about 15 wicker cases, each fitted with brass handles and leather straps, with battery-powered hot and cold boxes and a water pump, cases for Bernardaud Limoges china, Baccarat crystal, Asprey silver cutlery, a staghorn bar service, two folding mahogany tables and 16 chairs, each with the monogram “K.” The set was estimated at $20,000 to $30,000 and sold for a whopping $144,000.  Although day-trippers have used wicker carryalls since the 1700s, the true picnic basket was born in 1901, when British luxury-goods retailers like Asprey started stocking hampers filled with tableware for motorists to enjoy on country drives.”

Penne all’arrabbiata with Tender Belly Sausage

L1100758I have been making this dish since college days and the first version of it came to me from a penne all’arrabbiata recipe, which translates as “enraged penne.”  The sauce can be hot to very hot, depending upon the amount of dried red pepper that you decide to use.  The dash of vodka and heavy cream enhances the flavor and color.  This dish only takes about 20 minutes.

But the real revelation to this dish came to me tonight, after reading my favorite magazine, Garden & Gun, which is a Southern Living type of magazine only more hip, with shooting and lots of Southern recipes, mostly pork.  Only there was no pork this week.  So left feeling hungry, I headed off to the kitchen.

L1100784I grabbed some Tender Belly Franks and they say they call them “franks because of the extra effort we put into them. They are uncured and 100% Berkshire pork from the hind leg, coarse-ground like wonderful Old World sausage. They are applewood-smoked and have a subtly sweet and delightfully salty taste. The snap our frank makes when you bite into it is exactly what you would expect….Perfection.”  But, these delightful little sausages look like small kilbsa sausages, but they have a taste that is out of this world.  There were barely enough left to make the pasta, as my girls started eating the tasty bits of sausage as fast as I could fry them up.

I now prefer to use my Quick Chunky Tomato Sauce instead of the store-bought sauce, but I wanted to give you the original recipe for my friends and family who complain that all of my cooking is becoming too time consuming.  The Quick Sauce only takes 20 minutes and I think it is worth the tiny extra effort, as the water has to boil and then the pasta cook, so it really takes no extra time, but here is the easy version:

Ingredients

  • 1 lb.Tender Belly Franks cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 1 quart store-bought marinara sauce, kicked up with 1 T. red pepper flakes, 1 T. freshly crushed garlic, 1 t. salt, 1 t. pepper, 1 T. fresh herbs or Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or 2% milk, if you haven’t the cream)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 pound penneL1100785
  • Freshly chopped parsley and Parmesan to serve

Directions

In a nonstick skillet or cast iron skillet, fry the sausages in a few dashes of olive oil until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes.  Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel to remove the oil.

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In a separate pan, simmer the tomato sauce with the spices and bring to a simmer in a heavy large skillet over low heat.  Add vodka and cook while pasta water is boiling until the mixture reduces by 1/4, stirring often, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a third deep pan, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta.

Stir the cream into the tomato and vodka sauce. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is heated through. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted and well blended.  Transfer the drained pasta to the pan with the sauce, and add the sausages, tossing to coat.  Serve with more Parmesan and chopped parsley on top.

Tender Belly Berkshire BBQ Spare Ribs

L1100059We went through St. Louis at Christmas time.  Just to make sure these were the best ribs, we stopped at several St. Louis BBQ joints and I can proclaim these ribs are still the best.  And you don’t need to set up an all day smoker box, nor a hillbilly hot tub (but a hilly billy hot tub helps to hold the beer once you have soaked and drained it), to make them at home.  You can make these ribs completely in the oven!  I know, heresy in many places, but true.

We have tried a bunch of rib recipes including the famous Willingham’s World Championship Ribs and making my own BBQ sauce, but I keep coming back to this favorite recipe, which comes from my Uncle Tom.  The recipe and technique are simple and still tastes best for all the homemade ribs that we have found.  But we were given some Tender Belly Berkshire pork ribs which make this recipe complete, as it can now be proclaimed the best!

In a cooking bag add:L1100779

  • a rack of Tender Belly Berkshire pork ribs
  • 12 oz. of Coca-Cola
  • 1 T. vinegar

Marinate all ingredients overnight with meat side down (the ribs curving upwards) in a Reynolds oven bag.

Make 5-6 holes in the top of the bag with a sharp knife.  Bake in a preheated oven, at 325-350F for 2 hours, on a baking sheet.  Take out of bag and bake 20 minutes more at 325F on the reverse side, coating with BBQ sauce.  Turn and add BBQ sauce to the other side, cooking for 20 more minutes.  We have found that Ken Davies and Bull’s Eye BBQ sauces mixed equally tastes like home-made sauce!   You can also finish them on the grill for added smokiness, but it really is unnecessary with this recipe, but if you want to show off to your guests and make it look complicated, go for it!

Ribs

Tender Belly Berkshire Pork Bangers and Mash

L1100758Our friend and new-found pork purveyor, Steven Wiskow, gave us some Tender Belly Franks to try out here at the château.  I’ll be honest, as always here at the Sporting Road, as we aren’t selling anything and turn down all requests for advertising—I looked at them and said, “What in the hell are we going to do with these?”  They are uncured Berkshire pork franks, and they say that theycall them franks because of the extra effort we put into them. They are uncured and 100% Berkshire pork from the hind leg, coarse-ground like wonderful Old World sausage. They are applewood-smoked and have a subtly sweet and delightfully salty taste. The snap our frank makes when you bite into it is exactly what you would expect….Perfection.”

Alright, so we have a package of uncured Berkshire pork franks.  I thought of calling Gordon Ramsay, but it was too late in England to ring him up, and after a day of fox-hunting, dinner time here in the U.S. was quickly approaching with two girls waiting for my creation.  Having spent many days putting food on the table hunting, my family knows that I can whip about anything up into a quick dish thanks to my mother.  And, since County Berkshire is home to Britain’s oldest breed of pig, I had the revelation that they must have made the traditionally English bangers and mash from these links, probably since the beginning of time, and since I couldn’t find Gordon on the speed dial, I put down the phone and picked up the skillet.

In a large skillet over medium heat, I cooked the sausages until well browned.  And, since they said they were “uncured” but they looked cooked when they were warmed and starting to become golden brown, but I couldn’t be sure, I cooked for 5 minutes more each side.  Remove from pan, and set aside.  As Ramsay likes to say, “Done.”  But, I discovered upon cutting them, that they were “done” already, as they are already cooked.  The coloring did them good and they didn’t dry out nor did the skins burst, so I wouldn’t adjust the timing set forth above.

While they were  browning, I added four teaspoons of butter to the skillet, and fried two halved and thinly sliced onions over medium heat until tender, brown, and starting to carmelize.  Add a little olive oil if things start to stick. And add a 1/4 cup of chicken stock or Cognac (shhhh, don’t tell the English they will all be running over to discover what you did to improve their national dish).    A little salt and pepper doesn’t hurt either.

Now for the big confession, and I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I used instant potatoes.  If it is any help, I discovered them from my Hungarian friend’s family in Hungary.  Since potatoes are about as necessary to Hungary as they are to Idaho, maybe that makes them sound more exotic and acceptable.  The fact remains, they are fast and easy, and I challenge you to blind taste them along side real mashed potatoes, but only if you use real butter and milk in their preparation, instead of margarine and water, which are often called for on the box.  Anyway, they worked great for a quick and easy family meal, done in under 20 minutes, as the water boils as the sausages cooked away.  Follow the directions, and the better boxes, which claim to use Idaho potatoes, are better than the generic brands. L1030906

For the uninitiated, bangers are a type of sausage common to the UK and they are often an essential part of pub food, and as they are quick to prepare, they are commonplace in the home kitchen.  We enjoyed them in London and throughout the countryside along the Sporting Road while fox-hunting and fly fishing in England.  But you don’t have to make it sound exotic, everyone enjoys this dish, even kids!

In the UK, bangers are found throughout the butcher shops and appear white and pink in the case, as they are made primarily of pork butt, with breadcrumbs, seasonings and other natural additives, usually made fresh at the shop, like those we got handed to us courtesy of Tender Belly, and then stuffed into casings.  You can find them here.

The only thing that would make these more English is a side of peas, so being one to fancy tradition, I whipped up some frozen peas to garnish the plate and then I threw them away, as no one really enjoys peas, not even the English.   These are perhaps the best product that Tender Belly offers, although they are all great,  but they are worth the money, these are happy little sausages.  And, Happy hunting!

Berkshire Pork Chops

L1030881If you are a fan of the F-Word, you know your Berkshire pork from Gordan Ramsay’s infamous backyard Berkshire’s, Trinny and Susannah.  The flavor and texture of Berkshire pork sets it apart from other breeds. It has a distinctive, rich, buttery taste with unparalleled juiciness, tenderness and depth of flavor. When you cut into Berkshire pork you see dark red, rich color with exquisite intramuscular marbling.

As you know, here at the Sporting Road château, we only post these recipes for our family and friends.  We aren’t advertising, selling anything or have any ulterior motive other than posting the best recipes we have found in our travels along the Sporting Road throughout the word.  Our pork belly commodity trader friend, Steven Wiskow, was so excited about his new Tender Belly pork products that he gave some to us to try here at the château.  As I turn down making money from this site, as any gentleman should, and since the author remains anonymous, we’d tell you if they suck, as we only feature the best recipes here for our family and friends.  But, as it turns out, this Berkshire pork doesn’t suck, in fact you can’t find any better pork, anywhere.

Tender Belly writes:

  • We work in partnership with a co-op of 30 Iowa farmers (all small, family-owned farms) to supply us with the finest meats available.
  • The methods used to procure the meats are environmentally responsible and fully traceable with strict codes of responsibility and humane animal husbandry in effect.
  • The animals are naturally raised and humanely processed locally.
  • The animals are fed a 100% vegetarian diet, with no rendered animal byproducts, no antibiotics and no hormones.
  • Our product is the first cut at the plant every Thursday on all clean equipment to prevent cross contamination with other products.
  • All products are hand-inspected. If it doesn’t meet our high standards, it doesn’t make the cut.
  • Our whole hogs can be fed specialty diets for their last 100 days to subtly affect the flavor of the pork. Diets include: Apples, pecans, barley, walnuts, peaches

Enough hype, on to the recipe…

INGREDIENTS AND INSTRUCTIONS:

Get one 8-ounce boneless pork chop per person and soak in 2 c. water, after having mixed the water with 2 T. salt.   Brine for 5 minutes.  Take out and pat dry.  Season liberally, both sides, with Creole Seasoning, coarse French sea salt, and pepper.  Prepare the grill.  Grill the chops for five minutes over a very hot grill.  Turn and brush the tops with BBQ sauce.  Grill another five minutes, turn and coat the other side with BBQ.  Grill one more minute each side for the BBQ to stick.

We like to serve with coleslaw.

Skillet Asparagus Wrapped in La Quercia Speck with Parma

L1030855This recipe is one of my go-to favorites and I make it once a week, albeit never before with La Quercia speck.  Skillet asparagus is a Southern secret, which involves frying asparagus in a cast iron skillet, which concentrates its flavor rather than diluting it, as steaming or boiling will do to this gentle vegetable, especially if you buy them pencil-thin, which we always strive to do, as the thicker ones can be tough and therefore require peeling, which is avoided with the thin ones.  For one month of the year–April– we also enjoy the thick white asparagus grown in Spain or Italy, while the green is now in season nearly year-round in the U.S. thanks to greenhouses, but even green asparagus is best in season, which is April to June.  The white asparagus can be fixed the same way, but the white asparagus always requires peeling with a sharp knife or kitchen peeler, taking just a sliver of the skin from a couple of inches from the tip down to the stalk.  For this recipe, you should shock asparagus in cold water after cooking to stop the cooking process, before wrapping with the speck.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb asparagus, with an 1” removed from the butts.
  • La Quercia speck
  • Fresh ParmigianoReggiano cheese, slivered with a vegetable peeler
  • a few drops of olive oil

DIRECTIONS:L1030867

1. Rinse asparagus in cold water and trim off tough ends of stalks. Put butter in a heavy skillet (cast iron preferred) with a tight-fitting lid and heat until butter is foaming. Lay asparagus in the pan and shake from side to side to scatter the asparagus.

2. Continue cooking 5 minutes for pencil asparagus or up to 11 minutes for thicker stocks, or until asparagus is tender but still crisp and bright green.  They should be slightly charred.  Remove from skillet and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.L1030871

For a kid-favorite serving, plate the asparagus with ranch dressing for dipping, along side a few mounds of La Quercia speck.  For a fancier side dish to take to take along tailgating at polo matches,  you can dress this up by wrapping the asparagus with a half of piece of La Quercia speck, drizzling with a few dashes of olive oil on the plate and topping with shavings of fresh ParmigianoReggiano cheese, slivered with a vegetable peeler.

Our pork belly commodity trader, Steven Wiskow, gave us some of this speck from his Tender Belly products and even the Duke Brothers wouldn’t trade places for it.  This is the finest speck around town, or anywhere on the planet for that matter.  Looking good, Billy Ray!  Feeling good, Louis!