Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Gratin Dauphinois Potatoes

This layed potato dish is something of a treat for me, i seldom make it outside the winter months because its very rich and quite heavy on the old stomach, but it's delicious - a guilty pleasure, if you will. If a food could be comforting, this'll give you a cuddle!

While it might seem daunting to make, the preparation is the only thing you need to be careful with, and there are no time constraints - you can prepare this before anything else you want to make, and it'll be absolutely fine sat on the side, or in the fridge, until you're ready for it. 

You will need the following ingredients:

1kg (2.2lb) of King Edward Potatoes
300ml of Double Cream
150ml of Semi-Skimmed Milk (Half Fat for Americans)
50g of Grated Cheese (Emmental or Medium Cheddar is ideal)
Three Garlic Cloves
Salt & Pepper

Utensils Needed:

Large Mixing Bowl
Milk Pan or Small Saucepan
Ceramic Casserole Dish
Chefs Knife
Wooden Chopping Board
Mandolin (if you have one)

Before you do anything, pre-heat your oven to Gas Mark 2 (300° Fahrenheit / 150° Celsius).

The most important part of any gratin, is the thickness of the potato slices.Too thick, and the resulting dish will be too hard/chewy. Too thin and you'll end up with mush! If you have a mandolin to slice the potatoes, by all means use it. If not, then you can achieve the same results with a chef's knife, but sharpen it beforehand, and take your time. You want the slices to be around 3mm thick - if they taper off a little, or are thicker on one side, that's okay, just try and keep to 3mm as a rough guide.

Once cut, add the slices to the bowl.

You'll need a fair bit of salt & pepper for seasoning here, rough guide again is around one heaped teaspoon of coarse ground, for both. Add the seasoning to the bowl, and mix through with both hands - try to get all the potato covered in at least a little bit, you don't want to leave any bits unseasoned if you can help it.

Once seasoned, take your casserole dish, and layer the slices in, no need for any kind of pattern, just keep them flat, and build up layer by layer...

...until you end up with something that looks like this.

Once that's done, take your garlic cloves and finely grate them into a bowl. Don't crush them or chop them. Add two heaped teaspoons of thyme, and set to one side. 

Pour the double cream and milk into your milk pan and put on the lowest ring at high heat to get it to a simme.

Once the milk/cream is starting to simmer, turn the heat OFF! If you don't, you'll end up with it foaming and boiling all over the stove. Add the grated garlic and thyme to the pan, and whisk in vigorously.

Pour the mixture over the potatoes in your casserole dish evenly. It'll seep through all the little gaps and reach the bottom level, don't worry!

Place on the top shelf of the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes, before removing to sprinkle the cheese over the top. Place back into the oven for a further 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown as shown below. 

This will easily serve four very hungry people, it may look like a small amount, but the dense, rich potatoey goodness will fill you up very quickly!

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