The Days of Au Gratin Potatoes

Now that I’ve eaten my way through the past month and I’ve over dosed on sugars, fats, and rich foods, my sensibilities seem to be returning. Suddenly I’m craving uncomplicated and simple dishes – comforting things that don’t require a lot of effort or thought on my part.

Recently a nice roasted chicken and Potatoes au Gratin filled the bill perfectly. My latest manner of cooking chicken is to rub it with olive oil, season it well with salt and pepper, and stuff the cavity with a little rosemary and a few wedges of lemon. I start the chicken off in a hot oven to brown it, then pour a little chicken stock over it, lower the heat, and bake it a total of about 75 minutes, basting every 10 minutes or so until it’s juicy and nicely browned.

My post holiday lethargy caused me to compromise just a tad – and in the name of simplicity (and laziness) I just kept the temperature at a steady 375 degrees and baked everything until done – about the same amount of time (a little over 75 minutes). It worked nicely and the aromas coming from the kitchen were enough to tempt my extremely jaded palate.

I tend to forget about Potatoes au Gratin and whenever I make them, I always ask why have I waited so long? I prefer a potato such as a Yukon Gold because their waxiness hold ups well during the baking process and their flavor is superb. In desperate moments, regular Idaho bakers have saved the day.

Au Gratin Potatoes
6 potatoes, peel, thinly sliced
2 small onions, peel, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peel, thin slivers
salt and pepper
12 ounces evaporated milk, skimmed
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an au gratin dish and set aside.

In a buttered baking dish layer potatoes, onions and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dot with butter, cover with evaporated milk or half and half and bake for 60-75 minutes or until browned and crisp on top. After about 45 minutes sprinkle with grated cheese. Slice and serve.

Note: water or chicken stock can be substituted for the evaporated milk. Serves 4 to 6 ~

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