Cheesy au Gratin Potatoes Recipe

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While I've tried to lean towards a Paleo diet.  There are a few things I would honestly miss far too much too ever go fully Paleo.  Mainly cheese, cream, and potatoes.  I still have cream, cheese, and potatoes, just as a treat now.  I figure if that's my ideal of being bad I guess my diet isn't too bad :).  This au gratin recipe from Allen Dikker founder of the restaurant Potatopia in NYC has cream, cheese, and potatoes, so you know it's right up my alley. 

This dish is a great way to celebrate St Patrick's day or Easter.  My mother-in-law always makes a great au gratin side dish to go with our ham every Easter, so I always think of au gratin and ham when I think of Easter. What do you serve for Easter? What better than an au gratin recipe from the founder of a restaurant that serves only potatoes? 


Allen Dikker’s of Potatopia Potato Gratin


Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons pasture raised butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 (10-oz.) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (I use grass fed cheddar from Trader Joe's)
  • 1 (2-inch) piece slab bacon (cooked), thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large organic (potatoes are one of the dirty dozen) baking potatoes (about 2 lb.), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch fresh chives, finely chopped to 1/4 cup
  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • Garnish: rosemary sprigs (optional)

Directions:


  • Preheat oven to 400°. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and chives; sauté 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute.
  • Whisk in flour; cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in half-and-half; cook, whisking constantly, 3 to 4 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. Whisk in cheese until melted and smooth. Stir in salt and next 2 ingredients.
  • Layer potato and fennel slices alternately in a lightly greased, broiler-safe ceramic 2-qt. casserole dish. Spread cheese sauce over layers and crumble bacon on top, if using. Cover with aluminum foil.
  • Bake at 400° for 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from oven.
  • Increase oven temperature to broil with oven rack 5 inches from heat. Uncover dish, and broil 2 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish, if desired.

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