Potatoes Au Gratin

I hope you didn't think I forgot about the giveaway.  I know I'm a little late but I am here to deliver a winner.  And another delicious recipe. Potatoes Au Gratin
But first things first.  Let's get down to business and talk winners.  First off, thanks to those of you who left a comment for a chance to win the cookbook.  It was fun to read your responses although they made me quite hungry.  Anyway, using a random number generator at this website, I entered the number of participants and # 3 is the winner.

Anonymous said...
The pie looks yummy Dyan! My favorite southern dish has to be fried catfish and mac n cheese! -Melanie       
Congrats Melanie.  I hope you enjoy the cookbook!!!

Now on to other pressing matters.  More food.

The fiance' had been begging me to make potatoes au gratin for some time.  I had never been a big fan of this dish so I conveniently put off making it giving what I thought was a reasonable excuse. Not having a mandoline to thinly slice the potatoes.  But now I know that this is such a poor excuse since a mandoline is so not needed.  

While Mr. Foodie was recuperating, I decided to grant his wish to help make the recovery process a tad bit better.  When I told him what I was making, he became very excited.  But I couldn't blame him.  After the dish was finished, it became evident why he wanted these potatoes so badly.  There was such a nice brown, cheesy crust on top, it made me not even want to spoon them on to the plate.
I really can't describe to you how happy we both were when I did dig in.  These suckers were great.  Creamy potatoes, very well seasoned plus cheese.  These potatoes were like heaven on earth.  Mr. Foodie couldn't get enough. And on day two...uh, even better.  The flavors had a chance to set in and the cream thickened just a little. Perfection.
Then I made these on Sunday for Easter dinner and got great reviews from our dinner guests so I knew I had to share this with you.  The cooking time is a little long, 1 1/2 hours. But there are only a few simple ingredients, minimal prep and then you put them in the oven to let the magic start. You can't go too far though because every twenty minutes, you need to break the thin crust that starts to form on the top of the potatoes with the back of the spoon. This will help remoisten the top layer of potatoes, preventing them from drying out and burning.  Then last 10 minutes, you want to sprinkle to cheese on top and viola'! The most simple but outrageously delicious Potatoes Au Gratin.

Potatoes Au Gratin
Printable Recipe
* I must warn you that I didn't really follow any exact measurements.  I eyeballed everything. I've included approximations in the recipe but just feel your way through this and you will feel comfortable making this dish anytime

Butter to grease the baking dish
5 garlic cloves, 1 cracked and 4 minced 
4 white potatoes
2 russet potatoes
1 - 1 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease bottom of baking dish with butter.  Take 1 cracked garlic clove and rub the inside of the baking dish. Set aside

Peel and thinly slice the potatoes.  Approximately 1/8" thick but you want them to be uniform.  Put the potatoes in a bowl and season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Using your hands, toss the potatoes to evenly coat and season all the potatoes. Set aside

In a separate bowl, mix together the heavy cream, milk and four minced garlic cloves.

Assemble by layering 1/3 of potatoes in the prepped baking dish. Pour 1/3 of milk mixture onto the potatoes.  Repeat process 2 more times, ending with the cream mixture.  Make sure to press down on the top layer to ensure everything is even and the potatoes are covered by the milk mixture.

Place dish on baking sheet (for easy clean up if the dish starts to bubble over) and place in oven for 1 1/2 hours.  Every 20 minutes, open the oven and using the back of a wooden spoon, break the crust forming from the cream atop the potatoes. The sauce should appear to get thicker each time as it is absorbing into the potatoes.  During the last 10 minutes, sprinkle the top evenly with the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.  Continue cooking until cheese has melted and is bubbly.

Remove from oven and let cool before serving. Dig in and Enjoy!!

adapted from whiteonricecouple.com where the also have a great picture tutorial on the cooking process.