June 21, 2010

Potatoes Au Gratin

My dad had two simple requests for fathers day yesterday: grilled fillet mignon with olive oil, salt and pepper with one of his longtime favorite dishes- potatoes au gratin. It was not until after I had cooked and plated up the potatoes that my mom mentioned she had never made the dish for my dad, so I found myself thinking "great...if I mess this one up it really is a failure...and on fathers day, good going Katie.." I mean, I was worried about slicing the potatoes too thick, the fact that I wasn't cooking them first, and wondering if the swiss/cheddar combination was really going to suffice, but all my worries were soon put to rest after I took the first bite, laden with soft potatoes, gooey cream and cheese sauce with a crunchy hint of the browned topping to finish it off. This one is definitely going on my list of success stories.

Potatoes au Gratin

5 large Yukon Gold Potatoes peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick (I used the food processor!)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 vidalia onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon flour
freshly ground salt and pepper
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup baby swiss cheese
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese + more for topping
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375F and grease a baking dish with butter or non stick spray.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and then add the onions to cook under tender and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Once this is achieved, stir in the flour, salt and pepper and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Slowly stir in the milk/cream and both cheeses. Stir constantly under the mixture is boiling, and allow to do so for about 1 minute. Also, make sure the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth and creamy.

Arrange potatoes in flat layers of the baking dish then pour the cheese sauce over. Bake covered for 1 hour before removing the topping and sprinkling with cheddar cheese and bread crumbs for a nice crunchy top. Bake again for 10-12 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling.

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