Monday, February 20, 2017

Creamy Potatoes Au Gratin

Steaks need potatoes. It's just a fact of life. So when I decided to follow my baby boy's advice and make us a tender little filet for Valentine's Day, I knew I needed a rich and creamy potato along side it. By now, you probably know me well enough to know that I seldom follow a recipe exactly, unless I'm baking. Well, I wouldn't want to disappoint you. The recipe for the little beauties above came from reading a few online and then seeing what I had on hand. Needless to say, it worked out deliciously! 

I began by peeling four medium-sized russet potatoes and then used my mandolin to slice them into 1/4" slices. You can do this by hand, but the mandolin makes it so much easier, and prettier, and preciser. (OK, I need some "mores" in there to be grammatically correct, but you know what I mean!)  

See those perfectly sliced potatoes? Usually I rinse my potatoes if I'm frying or baking them to get rid of some of the starch, but I wanted that to help make them creamier. 

I sprayed a small casserole dish and layered half my potatoes. Alternate them a little so they don't just end up in stacks.

Most recipes called for a whole onion, but I didn't want the onion to overtake the potatoes, so I cut an onion in half, pole to pole, and then thinly sliced it.

Separate the onion slices and scatter on top of the first layer of potatoes. Use all the onions for this layer. Add salt and pepper. Top off with a final layer of potatoes. Add more salt and pepper. Be liberal. Potatoes can take it.

Melt three tablespoons of butter over medium heat. I know, it looks like four above, and it is, kinda. I cut off about three tablespoons of butter in one chunk and then decided to cut it up into smaller pieces so it would melt faster. Sorry for the confusion!

Add three tablespoons flour to the melted butter and whisk constantly until flour has dissolved and is smooth. Stir constantly and don't let the roux get dark.

Most recipes called for milk, but I took a little liberty here. I buy 1% milk, so it's not all that rich. Usually I will add a little half and half as I always have it on hand for my coffee. This day, I had some heavy cream I needed to use up, so I used one cup 1% milk and one cup heavy whipping cream. Yum.

I didn't want the potatoes to be too cheesy, but I knew the cheddar would 1) add a little salt, 2) add a little color, and 3) add a little body. I intended to add one cup grated cheddar, but when I finished grating the open block in the fridge, I only had about 2/3 a cup. I could have opened a new block, but I went with what I had. It was perfect.

Stir cheese until melted.

Carefully pour the cheese sauce over the potatoes, being careful not to spread the potatoes.

I tilted my dish a little to make sure everything was evenly coated.

Cover with foil and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until tender and bubbly. Remove foil and bake 5-10 minutes until you get a little color on top. Let sit for 10 minutes to set up and cool a little. 

Our menu of reverse seared filet mignon, potatoes au gratin and a side salad of mixed greens, strawberries, cinnamon-sugared pecans with poppyseed dressing.

These were unbelievable!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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  1. Wow! Those potatoes look like they taste SO GOOD! I am pinning this to make when I "fall off the diet wagon".

    1. They're worth getting run over by the wagon!