Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gratin Dauphinois' Healthy Cousin

Everyone loves potatoes! Mashed, boiled, fried or baked, they are usually loaded with butter and heavy cream, not exactly good for you. So, when you want a creamy potato dish that isn't loaded with fat, make "Pommes de Terre a la Boulangere", or "Boulangere Potatoes". This is an old French classic. The story goes that you would take your pan of potatoes to the local baker's oven (once the daily bread was finished) and roast your meat on a higher rack, letting the juices flavor the potatoes. How resourceful! The result is a creamy potato dish layered with sweet onions, slowly roasted in beef broth until slightly crisp on the edges. It's so savory, you won't miss the cream!

Boulangere Potatoes

Serves 6


3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 onions, sliced
2 pounds thinly sliced potatoes (a variety of potatoes looks nice, too)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Handful chopped fresh thyme
2 cups beef stock or chicken stock (beef is more authentic)


Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Melt half the butter with the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat, and gently fry the onions until soft and lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Spread half of the onions in the bottom of a medium shallow casserole. Layer half of the sliced potatoes on top, season with salt and pepper, and scatter over the thyme. Build another layer of onions, then a final one of potatoes, and finally pour in the stock. Dot with the remaining butter. Cover with foil, and bake until all the liquid has been completely absorbed, 2 to 3 hours, removing the foil for the last hour.

Recipe from French Taste: Elegant Everday Eating, by Laura Calder.  For Gratin Dauphinois, click here.

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