Eating Local in Phoenix

Cheesy Pork Shoulder and Potato Gratin with Caramelized Radish Salad

RadishesLast week, I crossed pomegranate tree off my garden wish list.  This week, I made some significant progress on the chicken front.  While I still don’t have actual chickens, I do have a rooster!  Well, I should say that my parents have a rooster since he lives in their backyard and not my studio apartment.  How we ended up with him is a long story but, suffice it to say, we decided to keep the young vagabond and let him roam free in the yard.  Sadly, after much deliberation, we decided against getting hens to go with Wily (it’s a very descriptive name, let me tell you).  So for now I have to be content with the little guy who – despite his best, and hilarious, efforts – is still too young to crow.

In honor of Wily, and thanks to my neighbor’s generous gift of a dozen eggs, this week I decided to celebrate chickens … by cooking eggs (and not chicken).  After some debate about what type of egg dish to create, I ended up choosing gratin.  I had initially hoped to create a leek and pork shoulder version – with the leeks individually wrapped in a slice of pork shoulder – however the leeks I found at the market this week left something to be desired.  The potato version is just as good and is a great dish to make at the end of winter when you only have small quantities of staples left on hand. Not that this is the end of winter – or even winter – mind you.

GroceriesI made two trips to the market this week.  The first trip was punctuated by attempting to interview farmers for a homework assignment (let’s just say it didn’t go well) and then rushing off without any purchases in hand.  I once again tried to make it to the open air market at the Tempe market but just missed it.  The good news, however, was that, except for leeks, the store had all the ingredients I needed.

Gratin is an amazingly easy dish to create, surprisingly adaptable and just as easy as making scrambled eggs.  This is a perfect lunch or dinner dish and especially wonderful as the weather turns colder.  This version, made straight out of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, turned out more eggy than those I remember eating in France – but just as good.  Served with a slightly bitter salad (but not too bitter, hence the caramelized radishes) and sparkling wine from New Mexico, it absolutely sings.  My only caution is to make lots of it – three hungry people easily devoured a serving for four.

Gratin of Shredded Potatoes with Ham, Cheese and Onion

Adapted from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Serves 4

Gratin, salad, champageIngredients:

1/2 onion, minced

2 Tbsp olive oil

4 Tbsp butter

3 slices pork shoulder or ham

4 eggs

1/2 clove crushed garlic

2 Tbsp chives, minced

2/3 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated

4 Tbsp half and half

1/4 tsp salt


3 medium sized potatoes

1/2 Tbsp butter in pea sized pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet, combine 2 Tbsp butter with the olive oil over medium heat.  Once hot, cook the onions slowly until softened but not browned.  Raise the heat slightly, stir in the pork shoulder, and cook until heated through.  Set aside.

Beat the eggs, garlic, herbs, cheese, half and half and seasoning in a large mixing bowl.  Add in the ham and onions.

Peel the potatoes and grate them using the large holes of the grater.  Take 1/3 of the potatoes at a time and, using paper towels, squeeze out the water.  Add the potatoes to the egg mixture.  Adjust seasoning as necessary.

In the same skillet from earlier, melt 2 Tbsp butter until foaming.  If your skillet isn’t oven proof, use an 11 – 12 inch baking dish or medium sized casserole dish and pour in the foaming butter.  Pour the egg mixture into the dish.  Dot with the pea-sized butter pieces and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until top is nicely browned.

While the gratin bakes, prepare the salad.

Caramelized Radish Salad

Serves 4


1 head lettuce, preferable arugula or other bitter salad mix

3 medium radishes

1 tbsp butter

pinch sugar

1 portion Basic Vinaigrette Dressing (found on recipe page)

Slice the radishes into match sticks.  In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and once hot, add the radishes.  Give them a good stir after about a minute and add in a pinch of sugar.  Let set for another minute, and stir again.  Keep them on the heat until they begin to blister with brown spots.  When done, remove and add to the salad.  Toss with dressing right before serving.

Bon Appetit!


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