Slow-Cooked Pork in Cream and Parmesan

by Anne Maxfield on October 16, 2014

Accidental Locavore Pork With CreamThe Accidental Locavore has always been curious about a traditional Italian dish: pork cooked in milk, so when Food & Wine had a pork dish cooked in cream and Parmesan, it needed to be tried out. This needs time and some attention at the end, but most of it is pretty easy. Serves 6-8.

  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 heads of garlic, tops cut off (about ½”)
  • A piece of Parmesan cheese rind (about 3 ounces)
  • 2 small sage sprigs
  • One 5-pound, pork shoulder roast
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into wedges
  • 4 small potatoes, quartered (optional)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Accidental Locavore Pork With Fennel and PotatoesIn a pot, or Dutch oven, just big enough to hold the pork, combine the cream with the buttermilk, butter, garlic, cheese rind and 1 sprig of sage. Season the pork with salt and pepper and add to the pot. Bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Cover, leaving the lid open just a crack, and cook over low heat for about 3 1/2 hours, until very tender. Transfer the pork and garlic to a large plate; discard the cheese rind.

Cook the potatoes (if using) in a pot of water, until the potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Boil the poaching liquid over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Strain the sauce into a bowl. Whisk in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste; keep warm.

Preheat the oven to 450°. On a large baking sheet, toss the fennel, potatoes and the remaining sage sprig with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer. Place the pork on top of it and roast until the pork is deeply golden and the fennel is tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Accidental Locavore Roast Pork With FennelPut the fennel, potatoes and garlic on a platter and top with the pork. Serve with the sauce on the side and enjoy!

My verdict: My husband walked by this dish while it was cooking at least three times and asked in not the happiest of voices, what it was and what was for dinner. Nothing like cooking for the non-enthusiastic. However, we both really liked the final results. The pork was tender, with nice crispy bits of fat and the sauce was delicious! I always forget how much flavor a piece of Parmesan rind can add to sauces and soups—definitely worth keeping around. This is more of a fancy, impress-your-friends dinner than a weeknight meal for two. I added the potatoes, but my instinct was to make some homemade pasta to serve with it—maybe next time. The thinner you slice the fennel, the better it will roast. Broccoli rabe would also go with this well. Make sure to squeeze out the garlic and mush it around with the pork and sauce, it adds another great layer of flavor.




Corn Chowder With Bacon and Potatoes

by Anne Maxfield on February 6, 2014

Accidental Locavore Corn and Bacon ChowderLooking for a warm and comforting bowl of soup for a cold day? After all this snow, the Accidental Locavore definitely was! Here’s a recipe for a great creamy corn chowder put together in less than 45 minutes, with corn I froze from the overload this summer and my own bacon. Serves 4.

  • 4 strips bacon cut into 1/2″ lardons (strips)
  • 2 cups corn kernels (from 4 ears of corn if you have fresh)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (could be less if your bacon renders a lot of fat)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2-3 medium new potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper (optional), seeded and finely diced

Heat the bacon in a large pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally until crisp. Reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish, leaving the rest of it (and the rendered fat) in the pot. Add the butter, thyme, garlic, onions, and bay leaf. Cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally over medium heat, until the onions are soft, about 6 minutes. Add the corn, milk (jalapenos, if using) and potatoes. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to low. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.

Accidental Locavore Multi-Color PotatoesDiscard the bay leaf. Partially puree the chowder either with an immersion (stick) blender, or by taking about a cup of the chowder and pureeing it in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add it back to the rest of the soup, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the bacon garnish, and enjoy.

My verdict: Since I decided at the last minute that this was what I needed for lunch, both the corn and jalapeno were frozen. Instead of dicing the jalapeno, I just dumped it in whole and removed it before pureeing the soup. It wasn’t spicy enough for my taste, so the whole thing went in the blender (and now it’s probably a little too spicy). I’ve made a vegetarian version of this, substituting a small chipotle in adobo and some of it’s sauce for the bacon (leave out the jalapeno unless you like it super-hot). If you’re clever enough to save corn cobs, cut them in half and toss them in, it adds flavor to the stock. I also added a piece of smoked pork rind that I had from making the bacon just to add some more flavor (and removed it before pureeing).



Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course

by Anne Maxfield on January 28, 2013

Accidental Locavore Gordon RamsayYou might think that someone like the Accidental Locavore would spend any and all TV time staring at the Food Network. And you would be wrong. It’s not because they turned down the Accidental Locavore show three times – really, it’s not. It’s because most of the programs just aren’t terribly interesting. I’m never going to make an appetizer from gummy worms and liver, coated in crushed Cap’n Crunch, are you? Nor am I looking to replicate the two types of fried clams (good as they are) that Guy Fieri turned up at Bob’s Clam Hut, one of our favorites on the way to Maine.

When I watch food shows I want to see beautiful food, food I’d want to eat and food that I want to eat enough to seek out the recipes and ingredients. Until recently, this was a very hit-or-miss proposition. However, now from a surprising source, there’s a new must-watch show (and no, it’s not the Taste) and a steady entry on the DVR’s to-do list. It’s Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course on BBC (added bonus, it’s on right when I’m eating lunch).

Until this show, Gordon Ramsay was on my short list of chefs I could care less about. Humorless and abusive, listening to him tell any number of people to f–k off is not my preferred form of entertainment. On this show he’s charming, laid-back and informative. There are lots of useful tips, the recipes are easy and straight-forward and the food looks delicious!

You’ll want to book a trip to England, if only to go hang with the terribly British butchers in the most immaculate shops, or the potato expert, slicing open a potato to reveal an amazing midnight-blue interior. Actually, all the food shots will have you drooling, so don’t say you weren’t warned!

Accidental Locavore Rosti PotatoesI’m definitely going to try the pork spare ribs. The leek and potato rosti looks like it would be great with a roast chicken (whether I roast it or buy it). I like that Gordon advises you always to cook extra potatoes, which you can always use for gnocchi or the rosti – advice I will surely act on! Since the show is British, all measurements are metric, but don’t let that bother you, so far nothing I’ve seen looks like an extra gram or two would make a huge difference and Chef Ramsay is always encouraging you to taste, taste, taste. Where you will need to convert is on oven temps and there are plenty of sites for that.

For videos of the episodes, click here and to find out what’s on each episode, Wikipedia has a great run-down. Let me know what you think.



An Easy Dinner: Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes

by Anne Maxfield on October 11, 2012

Accidental Locavore Chicken With ChorizoWhile the Accidental Locavore has a fascination with Pinterest, most of the food posted on it doesn’t appeal to me. Once in a while, something will look really good and get re-pinned to my “Things to Try” board. And once in a longer while, I will actually make one of these “Things to Try” (now, maybe I should create a “Tried” board…). Such was the case with the Spanish Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes.  So I gave it a shot the other night. It’s super easy, prep time is about 10 minutes and it feeds 2 with leftovers (see verdict below).

Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes

Serves 2
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 10 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
The Accidental Locavore makes an easy chicken recipe with potatoes and chorizo. A fast main course chicken dinner with a Spanish twist.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 chicken thighs (bone-in with skin)
  • 6oz Spanish chorizo, cut into 1/2 inch disks
  • 1lb small potatos, cut in quarters (I used both red and Yukon gold potatoes)
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (if you have fresh, use about 2 teaspoons, finely chopped)
  • 1 small orange, zested


Step 1
Preheat the oven to 425°. Put the oil in the bottom of a shallow roasting pan (I used a hotel pan--rimmed cookie sheet). Rub the skin of the chicken in the oil, then turn skin-side up, salt and pepper the skin side.
Step 2
Add the chorizo and potatoes, tossing to coat with the oil. Sprinkle the onion and the oregano on top, then zest the orange over everything.
Step 3
Cook for 1 hour, basting every 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Cooked Chicken ChorizoThe verdict: The original recipe was just a mess! What you have here is my best adaptation and the comments are based on how I interpreted the recipe.

Good, but needs more seasoning. I’m not sure if it was just that the chorizo on hand might have been a little dry, but after cooking, it was pretty crispy. Solution for that would be to use bigger pieces or add them halfway through the cooking. We thought a mix of Mexican (fresh) and Spanish (cured) chorizo would be interesting. I cut the onion into a pretty fine dice and it was essentially incinerated by the time the chicken was cooked. Bigger chunks should take care of that. Some Spanish (green) olives would add some color and saltiness to the dish and I’ll probably toss them in next time. Because this was such a simple dish to toss together, I’ll definitely make it again.

Frank said they were the best roasted potatoes I’ve made (high praise indeed!) and used the leftovers to make home-fries the next morning.


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