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Saucier potatoes au gratin


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I have several variations of potatoes au gratin and they always turn out too dry. I have tried adding more cream, covering with foil until done then browning but I never seem to get a nice saucy finish. I know I should probably cook the potatoes a little first, but don't want to end up with a loosely liquid mess. Does anyone have a tried and true method that turns out a nicely saucy dish?

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Go without delay to the nearest library or bookstore. Pick up a copy of Jeffrey Steingarten's It Must Have Been Something I Ate. Look at the chapter on potatoes dauphinois. Follow the recipe exactly, right down the the "eat immediately; every second counts after it comes out of the oven" bit.

I promise you, you'll want to buy the book, not only for the treatment of potatoes and the fine result it brings, but also for the writing alone. His obsessive attention to detail might be frightening if it weren't so funny and if it didn't produce such delicious results.

...and if that just doesn't work for you, I can describe the process, more or less.

But it won't be as good. :laugh:

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I par-cook the potatoes first on the stove, with enough heavy cream to cover. It will seem like there's an excess of liquid, but believe me, after some time in the oven (and the proper rest afterwards) the consistency is perfect.

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Slice the potatoes on a mandoline, then cook in a pot of 2 parts cream 1 part whole milk. Add a garlic clove or 2, some thyme sprigs, and a generous amount of salt.

Simmer (do not boil) the potatoes until they are tender but still a little al dente. You want to make sure to stir the potatoes often, turning them over in the pot as much as possible, so that the ones on the bottom do not stick to the pot and burn. Strain the potatoes and reserve the liquid. Pour a layer of the cream onto a baking dish, then proceed to layer the potatoes inside the dish. Add a little bit of cream every few layers.

Pour a little bit more of the cream on top, and then bake until bubbly and golden. This is the method I use and it works without fail--the real danger is actually adding too much liquid and making them too saucy (but still good).

Good luck.

Oh yeah, if you want you can of course add cheese every few layers and on top if you wish.

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I heartily support the idea of using libraries whenever possible, even as my cookbook collection reaches ridiculous proportions. :biggrin: However...just on the off-chance that someone wants to buy the book, and because I'm trying to learn how to do this link thingie again, here's an eGullet-friendly Amazon link to It Must Have Been Something I Ate, by Jeffrey Steingarten. What a charming writer. :wub:

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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