Saturday, June 4, 2011

Au Gratin Potatoes (aka Cheese Potatoes)

I was wandering the isles of the grocery this afternoon trying to decide what to fix to accompany the Parmesan Crusted Chicken Tenders that I'll be serving for dinner tonight and wasn't feeling inspired when I remembered that a friend of mine had asked for my Cheese Potato Recipe.

You would think that would be a relatively easy request to fulfill right?  Not for me.  My problem is that I do not have a written recipe.  I just make it.  You know, add ingredients until it is "just right".  So I could pass along the recipe, I made the effort to write down the ingredients and measurements and the dish is happily bubbling away in the oven and should be ready in about 20 minutes.

This takes more effort to prepare than the boxed variety which is dried potatoes and powdered cheese and you add butter and milk.  I think if you give this recipe a try, you will be happy with the results.

I have some cast enamel cookware that is great for dishes like this.  I used it to saute the bacon and onion and create the sauce, added the potatoes and it went directly into the oven.  So there is one less pan to clean up!  Cast enamel cookware isn't inexpensive, and I only have two pieces, one Le Creuset and one Chantal, and I love to cook with it!

Au Gratin Potatoes

Ingredients:

6 Idaho Potatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 slices bacon, diced
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
4 oz. Provolone Chees
4 oz. Mild Cheddar
4 oz. Sharp Cheddar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme

Directions:

  1. Peel potatoes and slice them in 1/4 inch slices.
  2. In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with cold water, add salt and bring to a boil.
  3. Boil potatoes about 10 minutes, or until they are almost tender. Drain potatoes and set aside.
  4. Heat a medium size heavy pot over medium high heat.
  5. Add the diced bacon and onion and saute until bacon is crisp.  If your bacon is relatively lean, to prevent burning, add a drizzle of olive oil. 
  6. When the bacon is crisp, remove the bacon and onion with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  7. Add 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil to the drippings already in the pan.
  8. Stir in 1/4 flour and stir quickly to make a roux.  It will clump like in the photo.
  9. Slowly add 2 cups of cold milk, stirring constantly with a whisk to blend.
  10. When milk starts to thicken add the cheeses, continue to stir constantly until the cheese melts and incorporates with the milk.
  11. Finally, add the black pepper and thyme along with the bacon and onion mixture and stir thoroughly.
  12. Remove from heat.
  13. Spoon  the cooked, drained potatoes into the cheese sauce, mixing carefully to not break up the potatoes.
  14. Turn the mixture into a casserole that you have coated with non-stick spray.
  15. Top with a sprinkling of shredded cheese.
  16. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, until bubbly and top is golden brown.

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About Me

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My career is in IT.  Cooking and photography are among a few of my hobbies. In my spare time, which is most weekends I tie on my apron and exercise my creativity by trying new recipes and adapting them to my tastes. I also have a passion for photography that I incorporate by taking photographs to go along with the recipes I post on my blog.  
I also enjoy travel, both near and abroad. Meeting new people, new experiences and cultures and oh, not to mention the food! I hope you enjoy my blog.