Tuesday, November 11, 2008

casserole casanova: guilt-free gratin

the humble potato lends itself to many a cooking technique, the casserole is a common favorite. potato casseroles go by many names: potatoes au gratin, scalloped potatoes, gratin dauphinois...the list goes on. supporting ingredients dictate each application's unique personality, however, there are a few common traits; thinly sliced potato rounds, a savory liquid and sturdy bakeware.

most potato casserole recipes call for copious amounts of heavy cream and cheese, ie. potatoes au gratin. the result is an utterly decadent dish that is hard to beat, unfortunately, it is equally hard to burn off at the gym. by substituting chicken stock for the cream and significantly reducing (or omit entirely) the amount of cheese you can enjoy a rich potato casserole without all the guilt.

Guilt-Free Gratin

4 medium sized golden potatoes
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil as needed
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs (optional)

--pre-heat oven to 375.

1. saute garlic in oil over medium heat. add thyme and rosemary, cook until fragrant; about 1 min. add stock to pot, bring to a boil and let steep covered, off heat.


2. lube a 9x12 baking dish with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.

3. slice potato into 1/8th inch rounds. if you have a mandolin, use it! otherwise, just try your best. work quickly, the potatoes WILL brown if they are exposed to the air for too long.

4. layer potato slices so that they are slightly overlapping. season each layer with olive oil, salt and pepper. lay down about half of the potato slices, then add some of the stock. finish off with the rest of the potatoes and then the remaining stock. push down to compress.

5. cover tightly with tin foil and place in oven. cook until tender about 35-40 minutes.

6. UNCOVER potatoes, add breadcrumbs and some grated parmesan cheese if you'd like. put back into the oven and bake until golen brown and delicious; another 20-40 mins.

-- allow to cool for 10-15 mins; drizzle with some EVOO and serve!

© 2008 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" - http://missioninsatiable.blogspot.com/