Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easy, Cheesy

A while ago I posted a recipe for au gratin potatoes. It is a no-fail, time tested recipe that is great for company because you can be sure it will turn out great. There are a few extra steps involved, but you can know that it will be done, no crunchy potatoes, you can multiply or divide the recipe and you will end up with the same results.
I have another recipe. This one uses russets, and it is absolutely perfect for a weeknight meal. It's quick, its easy, and it tastes fantastic. Seriously, it tastes so good, I reheated some for myself the next day. As I was eating them, I thought to myself, I need to blog about these potatoes. So, my next thought was, I need to take a picture. I finished the dish of potatoes. I reheated more, took their picture, then proceeded to eat them. I didn't want to waste them, you see.
Let me tell you how easy this recipe is. You peel some russet potatoes, and heat some milk and cream in a pan. Add some spices. Slice the potatoes. Add the potatoes. Cook until soft. Stir in some grated cheddar (or whatever you prefer) dump the whole thing into a buttered 9x13 baking dish and pop in the oven until brown and bubbling. And they're good. Really good. I called my mom and told her about them right away. I am attributing some of their deliciousness to the inclusion of a bay leaf in the milk that you cook them in. It definitely adds a distinct flavor and aroma that I absolutely adore.
I found this recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, this one, in which the recipe was titled, "Bread-Sauce-Flavored Potato Gratin". I eliminated some of the 'bread sauce' elements, and added cheese. This makes quite a lot, and I would say its too much for 4, but you will want some in the fridge to nibble on later, I am sure of it.

Easy, Cheesy Potatoes
Serves 4, generously
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream (I suppose you could use 2 cups half and half or whole milk, and you would just compromise the creamy texture a bit)
1/2 onion, peeled and cut in half again
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon salt
2 lbs russet potatoes
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
butter for greasing

Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Put the milk and cream into a large saucepan (you will put the potato in here, also). Add the onion and bay leaves to the pan, and bring them nearly to boiling. Turn off the heat, and put the lid on to infuse the milk.
Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/2 inch slices. Put them into the saucepan of infused milk and cream, and bring the pan back to a boil with the lid on.
Lower the heat to a simmer, and take off the lid (this will lower the temperature further) if the pan is spluttering too much and erupting down the sides. Cook the potatoes until they are tender, but still firm, about 20 minutes.
Take out the onion and bay leaves and add the cheese, stirring to mix in. Grease a 9x13 dish with butter. Pour the potato mixture into the pan and cook in the oven for about 15 minutes.

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