Saturday, August 8, 2009

Julia Child: Gratin of Potatoes a la Lyonnaise

All the Julia Child talk lately has made me crave French food, so I got my JC cookbooks out, dusted them off, and decided that the first page I opened to would be what I'd make. It was Gratin of Potatoes a la Savoyarde. Potatoes Lyonnaise.

That's perfect. I have all the ingredients, and since I was planning on steak for dinner, this is the perfect side. And, it's super easy.

The potatoes and onions are sliced thin - I use a mandolin (I love that thing!) The recipe called for boiling potatoes. I had red potatoes, and russet baking potatoes, so I used those. And I don't peel mine. The skins are so full of nutrients, and I happen to love them. But the recipe calls for them to be peeled. Which, is totally French. They peel all their vegetables.

Butter of course. The onions were sauteed in the butter until, as they say, translucent.

Swiss cheese, or something similar, is the preferred cheese for this. I had Provolone. Perfect. It's light, like Swiss, but a tad more flavorful. I blitzed it in the food processor for a few seconds.

To assemble, all you do is butter the bottom of a pan, then you will do 3 layers: Potatoes first. Then onion. Then cheese. Lightly season layers with salt & pepper.

After the layers are done, add the chicken broth. Add only enough to come halfway up the potatoes. Then, of course, a little more butter :) A few pats on the top.

While the oven was heating to 425, it says to put the pan on the stove over medium heat and bring the broth to a simmer. So, I did. It was of course an oven safe dish - but I still felt nervous putting it over an open flame like this. I crossed my fingers that it wouldn't break the dish! And it didn't.

30-40 minutes in the oven, and it looks like this. I let it set up for about 20 minutes and the liquid absorbed nicely. What I loved about this, is that the broth mixes with the butter (which wasn't a huge amount of butter) and it makes it so creamy and rich. It tastes much more rich than it is. It's not soupy at all -- and shouldn't be -- it's just creamy.

Perfect with our steaks, which were simply prepared by pan frying with olive oil, salt & pepper.

Serving for 6


several Tb of butter
2-3 cups thinly sliced onions
12-16 medium "boiling" potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated swiss cheese
2-3 cups chicken stock

I miss cooking. I haven't done a lot of it lately because I just haven't had time. This was totally simple though, and it reminded me that cooking doesn't have to be a lot of work and a huge production. I have 3 Julia Child cookbooks, so I'll be making more recipes. Stay tuned!