My Kitchen, Your Recipe: Pork with Parsnips and Pears

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Food column by Mary Alice Holt

By Mary Alice Holt

A couple of months ago, one of my co-workers, Sarah Berkshire, was talking about this recipe that she was going to have for supper that night. It was Pork with Parsnips and Pears, and it was a crockpot recipe, so it was cooking while she was working. It sounded so good, that I asked her for the recipe.

She told me later, that although the recipe says you can cook it on the high-heat setting for 5½ to 6 hours, it was much better when she tried cooking it overnight for 11 to 12 hours on the low-heat setting.

When I made it, I took her advice and cooked it for 12 hours. It was fantastic. The meat just sort of fell apart, and it was so delicious. I’m pretty sure I had never had parsnips before, but I was in the mood for something different, so I used both the parsnips and the carrots and thought they worked really well together. The pears don’t add texture because they are completely soft after they’ve cooked for that long, but they sure do add taste.

I first knew Sarah when she was Sarah Baker and was a reporter here at The News-Enterprise. She married Forrest Berkshire, who was first a reporter and then a photographer here at The N-E, and they left to pursue other interests a few years ago. They have two sons now and live in Elizabethtown.

I was thrilled when I heard Sarah was coming back to work here, because she and Forrest were always two of my favorite co-workers. Sarah is now the features and community news editor, so she’s my boss. Lucky me!

Mary Alice Holt can be reached at 505-1751 or at maholt@thenewsenterprise.com.

Pork with Parsnips and Pears
1 2½- to 3-pound boneless pork top loin roast (single loin)

1 tablespoon cooking oil

1½ pounds parsnips and/or carrots, peeled and cut into 1½- to 2-inch pieces

2 medium pears, peeled, quartered and cored (stems intact if desired- about 2 cups)

2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic or 6 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ cup port wine or apple juice


Ground black pepper

In a large skillet, brown meat on all sides in hot oil. Place parsnips and/or carrots and pears in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker; sprinkle with tapioca. Place meat on top of parsnips and pears; sprinkle meat with garlic, rosemary, thyme, the ½ teaspoon of salt and the ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Pour wine over all.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 11 to 12 hours or on high-heat setting for 5½ to 6 hours.

Transfer meat to serving platter, reserving cooking liquid. Use a slotted spoon to transfer parsnips and/or carrots and pears to serving platter. I spooned the reserved cooking liquid over the meat and vegetables when I served it.

Notes from Mary Alice: I used a pork tenderloin when I made this, and I used the apple juice. I think next time I might try using the port wine as the liquid because I think the taste would go really well with the pears and vegetables. I also think that next time I will use 2 to 3 pounds of the carrots and parsnips instead of 1½ pounds because I wanted more of the vegetables with the leftover pork.