Sunday, November 28, 2010

Creamy Potato Gratin

When I think of my ultimate comfort food, I think potatoes. Mashed, with lots of sour cream and butter and a lake of thigh-hugging gravy on top. Baked with (more) sour cream, chives and REAL bacon bits. Roasted new baby reds with a sprinkling of olive oil and salt and pepper.
Pardon me while I wipe the drool off the front of my shirt....

Hats off to my friend Lisa who didn't balk when I proclaimed "I'm going to try a new recipe on you. I hope it works."

I've had a lot of really nasty Gratin potatoes, mainly from my mother's kitchen - god bless her non-culinary heart - so when I came across trying to make them myself, I was a little leery. Nothing kills your proposed food coma like half-done potatoes, or separation of the cream, or dry spots. However, if you do try this recipe (and please do!), you will see that they are fool proof and super easy, and so tempting that you may heat them up for yourself for breakfast the next day. (I can not be the only one!) What I will NOT promise is how calorie laden they are, but you know...all things in semi-moderation.


1 lb russet potatoes

1 cup each of whole milk and heavy cream

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup of white sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg* (optional)

3 tbsp breadcrumbs (Italian or plain)

3 tbsp Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x9 inch Pyrex baking dish and set aside.

Peel and slice potatoes to 1/4 inch thickness, either using a
mandoline or a steady hand. (I have a mandoline, but I am terribly afraid of it because I almost sliced my finger off, even though it came with a hand guard.)

Combine the sliced potatoes, milk, heavy cream, garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a large saucepan. Simmer of medium heat for about 8-10 minutes. Watch your saucepan, because you do not want to pick up the mess if it boils over! The potatoes will still be firm when pierced with a knife. Remove the potatoes from the heat and add in your grated Cheddar cheese, stirring to melt.

Pour entire mixture into your prepared baking dish. Combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and scatter over the top evenly. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly. Remove from oven and allow the Potato Gratin to "set" for 5-7 minutes before service.

Can you believe that there is no butter in this recipe?!

*I use freshly grated nutmeg in all of my creamy based dishes because it provides just a hint of something in the background that I really like. If you only have store-bought nutmeg, pre-ground, omit. The flavor just isn't the same.

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