Thursday will be my very first Caveman Christmas: yes, our entire meal is totally primal! Today and tomorrow, I’ll be featuring recipes I’ll use on the day, that are primal-friendly. Today’s recipe is Primal Potato Gratin.
Being primal in real life, finding new recipes, experimenting with new foods and creating my own dishes has become second nature for me, and it’s quite reassuring that one doesn’t have to reinvent the food wheel when cooking primal-friendly dishes and meals. This recipe is just that. It’s one I’ve actually made before and many times, in my sugar- and wheat-eating days. This was back when I thought I was eating healthy with treats here and there; in reality, I was eating ‘healthy.’ This recipe is inspired by one from the very first Great British Bakeoff cookbook, from way back in 2011.
This recipe is originally a Stilton, Potato and Caramelised Onion Pie, with a rough puff pastry crust; Pat and I (and our family) enjoyed this pie many, many times. I totally forgot about this recipe until the weather started to turn and winter decided to make a few cameo appearances here in Scotland; enough to make me think ‘I want comforting, hot food.’ This potato dish fits that criteria. Rather than serve it as a main, I use the Potato Gratin as a muscle-energy side.
One grey area for primal people is dairy: some can’t eat it at all (due to lactose intolerance or casein allergy), while others can, however I do wonder if that’s really the case. Many think that as long as a food doesn’t bother you gastrointestinally then they can eat it; the truth is, foods affecting our intestines is only a fraction of our body’s response to food intolerances and sensitivities. Many sensitivities can affect our skin, and even our brains (scary thought). From personal experience, dairy definitely seems to more so affect people’s skin rather than their guts: my eczema flares up if I eat too much conventional, store-bought dairy; Coconut Friend Amie‘s psoriasis starts to creep back. The best dairy to choose – if you elect to consume it – is actually raw, unpasteurised dairy from reputable producers. These producers must follow strict food hygiene guidelines, and will have a more responsibly reared herd of cows, most of which are organically fed as well. I now buy small quantities of raw, organic cheese and yogurt, and have noticed they barely touch my eczema now. I also make sure I don’t eat daily or excessive quantities of the stuff. And no, I don’t get food poisoning or an upset stomach, in case you were wondering. I would’ve thought so about nine months ago, when I didn’t know. Now I know.
This dish is a gratin, meaning that it’s got a browned top crust with cheese; traditional gratins would also have breadcrumbs, but that’s not primal (unless they’re from paleo bread)! It’s rich, it’s savoury and the kind of food that sticks to your ribs. In a good way. This dish is best served alongside a roasted piece of meat, and actually pairs well with ham. I will be making this as our potato dish for Christmas dinner.
Below, I’ve put both conventional dairy ingredients, with raw, unpasteurised alternatives instead.
Primal Potato Gratin
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
1.5 kg waxy potatoes
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp honey or xylitol
100g Blue Cheese, crumbled*
100g Gruyère cheese, grated**
140 mL crème fraîche***
60 mL double cream
100g mature Cheddar, grated****
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Raw dairy substitutions – all from Scottish producers, purchased at my local farm shop: (see photo above for reference)
* Devenick Dairy Badentoy Blue
** Cambus O’May, by Cambus O’May Cheese Company
*** Combine crème fraîche and double cream quantities and substitute for 250mL The Devenick Dairy’s Natural Yogurt
**** Connage Highland Dairy Organic Dunlop (my favourite!!!!)
1. Peel all your potatoes and slice them lengthwise, ½ inch thick. Boil them for 8 minutes, then drain and run under cold water to stop them from further cooking. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, slice your onions. Heat a frying pan to medium low, melt your butter, then add your onions, honey and salt. Sauté for about 15 minutes, or until the onions are soft and the honey has thickened. Remove from heat. It is imperative the onions cook at a lower temperature, don’t rush them.
3. Preheat your oven to 350’F/180’C.
4. In one bowl, combine the crumbled Blue Cheese, grated Gruyère, nutmeg and black pepper. Set aside. In another bowl, combine the double cream, crème fraîche and grated cheddar, and mix well.
5. Now you’re going to put the gratin together in a 9 x 13 oven proof dish; this can also be assembled in a large and deep pie dish. Reserve a bit of the double cream, crème fraîche and grated cheddar mix and set aside to top the dish. To assemble, follow this pattern:
- ¼ potato slices to cover the bottom
- 1/3 onions over top
- 1/3 blue cheese-gruyère mixture
- dot with 1/3 crème fraîche, double cream and cheddar mix
Repeat until you all different parts are used. Ideally, you should end with potatoes on top. Slather your reserved double cream, crème fraîche and grated cheddar mix over top.
7. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the cheeses, cream and crème fraîche are bubbling. If you’ve elected to use the raw dairy alternative, the dish won’t be as bubbly but will nonetheless taste delicious.
Serve with a large spoon and enjoy!
Last week, I posted my very first giveaway on Eat Primal, Run Hard: a Nathan Wrist Runner2 and Reflective Lock Laces. The lucky winner is:
Congratulations! Please email me a mailing address for you at email@example.com. I’ll mail these out to you ASAP.
Thanks to everyone else that entered and don’t worry, I’ve got another Nathan Sport gear giveaway in the new year, stay tuned!
What’s your favourite Christmas dish?
What dish have you turned primal?
Do you support local food producers in your area?