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Cheesy Potato Gratin

 

I am one of those moms that will ask my kids if they had a certain dish in mind for dinner, I also tend to ask them before they fully wake up. Normal response from daughter is

“Really mom? Can I smoke, have my coffee first” (Smoking I’m not even going to go there…lol) or “Mom! It’s way to early to be thinking of dinner”

Now my son who is a mere nineteen years young, and very health conscious of his weight, will just give
“that look” that we used to give them when one would ask one of those “Are you kidding me questions” and he answered with….

I’m having salad or Tilapia.

So a few days ago at the market I picked up a nice bag of potatoes, and decided I would ask the first kid I saw the next morning if they would like me to make their favorite potato dish. Next morning I saw my son first and asked if he would like me to make him whole wheat gnocchi?
His response.

I’m having salad or Tilapia.

So when my daughter got up to start getting ready for work I told her when she gets home I’ll have her favorite potato dish in the fridge for her.

Daughter’s response……..

Mom, can you make this on my day off instead so I actually get some. 😦

My son is 6.1 and 280 lbs and like millions of others has a weakness for a great tasting dish or bowl of cereal depending on the mood craving, and time of day.

So the following day was actually her day off and I made her favorite side dish, and I’m glad i waited that extra day.

My 9×13 casserole dish with my cheesy potato gratin was gone by 10 pm!

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Gratin is a culinary technique in which a completed dish topped with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg and/or butter. The gratin originated in French cuisine and baked in an oven proof shallow dish. A gratin is either baked or cooked under an overhead grill or broiler to form a golden crisp crust on top and is traditionally served in its baking dish, also known as casserole dish.

The origin for “gratin” is from the French language in which the word gratter meaning “to scrape” or “to grate” as of the “scrapings” of bread or cheese, and gratiné for the crust or skin. Cooking au gratin is widely used cooking method in many dishes that includes meat, fish, various vegetable and pasta dishes, fennel, leeks, crab meat, and eggplant. In North America we have referred to this dish as scalloped potatoes, potatoes au gratin, or au gratin potatoes.

In case you did not know there are various methods for cooking a gratin, here are a few examples.

Pommes de terre gratinées

Pommes de terre gratinées
To make “potatoes with cheese, large potatoes covered in flour and baked in the oven, then cut in half and skin  removed. It is then mashed and mixed with butter, cream, grated cheese and seasoning. The potato mixture placed back in their skins, sprinkled with more grated cheese and browned in the oven or under the grill.

Gratin Dauphinois

Gratin Dauphinois
This dish is from the Dauphiné region of France. The dish is typically made with thinly sliced potatoes layered with cream and cooked in a buttered dish rubbed with garlic.

Gratin savoyard

Gratin savoyard
This dish is a found in the neighbouring Savoie region. Its made with sliced potatoes, Beaufort cheese, butter cut into pieces with a bouillon as the liquid.

Other gratin style dishes are;

Pasta

pasta gratin
An alternative to using potatoes in a gratin is the use of pasta that hold their shape, texture and wont soak up all the cheese or sauce while baking. Type of pasta for this gratin are penne, rigatoni, fusilli/spirelli, or tagliatelle.

Seafood

Sole au gratin
This gratin is a British recipe, based on Charles Elmé Francatelli’s recipe of 1861. This classic dish of sole baked in a white wine and a mushroom sauce topped with mushrooms, shallots and parsley.

Cozze gratinate is a mussels-based recipe found in Italy.

Cozze gratinate

Vegetable

Vegetable gratin
Gratin Languedocien is a preparation made with eggplant and tomato, covered in breadcrumbs and oil, then browned.

This dish is similar to the Italian dish known as melanzane alla parmigiana, or more commonly known as eggplant Parmesan  Other vegetables commonly used in gratin dishes include cauliflower,spinach,and butternut squash.

Janssons Frestelse

Janssons frestelse
A gratin with potatoes, onions, and preserved fish is a traditional Swedish dish, and is similar to a French dish of potatoes with anchovies.

The sauces typically used in gratinéed vegetable dishes is the, Béchamel sauce and Mornay sauce. These sauces are also used in many other gratin dishes.

And here is my version of the gratin which I think is closer to the Gratin Dauphinois.

In my version I use minced garlic, diced onion and two types of cheeses that not only pair well with each other, but

melt into a smooth white sauce topped with bread crumbs and of course more cheese.

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Ingredients:

5-8 med-large potatoes; washed, peeled and cut into 1/4 in slices

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1/2 Onion; cut into diced small
3 cloves of garlic; minced fine

3 cups milk
2 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp flour
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 slice of bread; toasted and grind/grated into crumbs

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Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Wash potatoes, then peel and slice into 1/4 inch rounds with a sharp knife, or mandolin. Rinse well with running water and lay out on paper towels to dry.

Chop onion and garlic, set aside. Toast slice of bread, then grate/grind to a bread crumb texture and put into small bowl with 1/2 cup of cheddar and jack cheese, mix well set aside.

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Using a medium sauce pan and over low heat warm milk and add minced garlic and diced onion.

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In a small sauce pan melt unsalted butter and add flour, whisking continuously over medium heat for 2-4 minutes.

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Pouring slowly and while whisking add flour mixture to sauce pan of warmed milk. Sauce will start to thicken within a few minutes.

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Place potatoes in a large bowl and pour over potatoes white sauce. Using a large slotted spoon make sure potatoes are evenly covered in the white sauce. Salt & Pepper to taste.

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Using an oven proof casserole dish 9 x 13 layer the bottom with the potato and white sauce, then add layer of cheddar & jack cheese, repeat steps.

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Top casserole dish with cheese & bread crumb mixture. Cover and place into oven to bake for 1 hour, mid way through baking rotate casserole dish unless you are using a convection oven.

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After an hour remove foil and check to make sure potatoes have cooked all the way through, by testing with a fork.  Turn off oven  And let cheese and bread crumbs toast last ten minutes sitting in the oven, if you like a really browned and crispy crust.

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Serve as a side dish or next time there is a potluck make a gratin, its easy to make and will hold up well. Just remember it is a dairy based dish that needs to be kept chilled till your ready to present it.

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Enjoy~Clarissa

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About Dish With Clarissa

Clarissa Ellis grew up learning to cook with her mom. In a time where traditional home-cooked food was going out of style, Clarissa learned to love and make those simple 'comfort foods' and family favorites. As she grew - and her mom got busier with long work hours, Clarissa supported her mom by taking over most of the cooking duties around the home. By the time Clarissa started high school - she had absorbed her mother's approach to traditional, homestyle Italian dishes; and thanks to So Cal's great weather year round... a love of cooking on the grill. Fast forward 30 years and Clarissa has never stopped cooking. She continued to explore food, learning more from So Cal's amazing cultural variety, trying things out on her family and her friends... and always learning. Never content to merely cook a good meal, Clarissa developed the habit of talking sharing her ideas with family, friends and coworkers. After a lifetime of learning and experimenting, Clarissa's love affair with traditional Italian cooking, and 'comfort foods' has grown into a robust, creative and cross-cultural approach to cooking that still manages to remain 'accessible' to the rest of us. Now Clarissa brings her experience and her approach online through her blog - giving all of us a chance give ourselves, our friends and our family the benefits of a lifetime of passion and joy in cooking simply great meals.

11 responses »

  1. Thanks for linking my Tomato Tart recipe. Your stuff looks fab as always!

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    • Hey Ms Teresa, I’ve been meaning to ask you what type of camera do you use? The pictures just pop and are so vibrant .

      The tomato tart looks amazing cant wait to dive into making tarts next. What would you recommend for a beginner. A sweet or savory?

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      • You’ve made my day! I try really hard to get good pix but I’m really a poor photographer. My son gave me a food photography class in Plano for my birthday. That’s next March & I hope to pick up a lot of good advice. I use a Canon Rebel EOS T4i with a 50mm lens. Because I have to shoot all my pix outside (we have low-E windows which causes everything to be really dark), I take pix in my patio table which is under a pergola. So I have to adjust for the shade. I have to increase the light to get adequate pix. I use an F8.0 & a 1600 ISO, my shutter speed is usually right of center (slower) because that allows more light. I also have to be careful because it causes shaky images! I’ve tried many different white balances, but the automatic setting seems to get the best color. The shady or cloudy settings all tend to leave a yellow hue on the pix. I have Lightroom 5 which I hope will help, but I am still trying to figure out how to use it so it may be a month or so before I roll out any pix using it.

        Hope this helps.
        Teresa

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      • It doesn’t look like my message went thru that I sent the other day, so here it is again. I was trying to do it on my iPhone and sometimes the app links don’t always work. You made my day when you posted this the other day! I’m the world’s worst photographer! I really try hard but I need to take some classes and learn how to use Lightroom 5 so I can make my pix look even better. I’m a little slow at picking up technology!

        Here are the answers to your questions. I use a Canon EOS Rebel T4i with a 50mm lens. I use the manual setting with the ISO usually set for automatic because the shady and cloudy settings put too much of a yellowish tinge on the pix. My settings are F8.0 and 1600. I usually have to take pix allowing more light which decreases the shutter speed but it’s the only way I can get them bright enough where I take them. My biggest thing is keeping the camera steady so there are no shakes. The 50mm lens was recommended to us by a professional photographer friend so that’s what I use. That’s not what comes with the camera, it’s an additional expense but worth it.

        If you’ve never made tarts before look at my recipe for Homemade Pie Crust. I throw together pie crust in minutes but I’ve been doing it for years. Let me give you a few tips.

        1) If you really want to make a good pie crust then set aside some time every week to make a pie or two. If you make a couple of pies (or tarts) per week for a couple of months you’ll know exactly the texture that the pie dough has to be and learn all the shortcuts so that it’s really easy.
        2) Start with fruit pies. Here’s my mom’s basic ingredients: 4 cups of any kind of fruit, 1 cup sugar (add an additional 1/2 cup for really tart fruit), 3 heaping tablespoons of flour, and 3 tbsp. butter. Any pie will turn out well using these basic ingredients. Make up your pie crust, then mix fruit, sugar and flour. Place dabs of butter on the bottom of the pie shell, pour in the fruit, top with crust and bake in 300 oven until done. Hotter ovens burn the crust.
        3) Sometimes it may take an hour or longer for the pie to finish. The pie isn’t done until the fruit filling bubbles up THICK! Otherwise when you cut into the pie it will run all over the place.
        4) Don’t put filling into a pie crust until you are ready to bake the oven and put the top crust on or the crust will come out soggy.
        5) Don’t overwork your dough or you’ll have a tough crust.

        I wish you lived in the Dallas area. I’d have you over and we could make pies galore!

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      • Hey Ms Teresa,

        I did see your comment but haven’t had a chance to respond, but i will for sure today. I would have never guessed your taking pictures outside!!! I am impressed!!!

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      • I would have never guessed! My kitchen has no real light source so i have to shoot early or use flash. I plan to invest in better track lighting before i start shooting videos. But i think i will try taking pictures outside, except i use my iphone waiting on santa to bring me a nice camera for Christmas !…. Lol

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      • Ps… I wish we were neighbors too, we’d have a lot of fun!

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  2. I like your new gravatar, Clarissa. New to me, at least! I am sorry have not been here for awhile, I think and love the potatoes and the way you show each step. My mouth is watering and my tummy growling while in the library blogging! Thanks for “being there” liking my posts. I appreciate this so much!

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