Potatoes au gratin with spinach and blue cheese

I got the idea for this dish from Google essentially. I had blue cheese, cream, potatoes, spinach and I figured the best thing to do with it would be to make potatoes au gratin but I had to check Google just to be sure it had been done before (and for a method of some sort). I came across this video:

It confirmed that the mix of flavours is normal and so I gave it a try. However in the video he cooks his ingredients on the cooker before putting them into the oven, whereas in terms of making gratin I’m accustomed to just baking for an hour. However, if you go that route you need some patience, it is an hour, no more, no less.  I don’t usually measure my ingredients because the number of potatoes may differ from time to time. As a general rule, I ensure that the liquid is just about level with the potatoes. Two little will result in a dry gratin and too much will give you a soggy one.

By definition the term au gratin refers to a dish that is baked with a topping of seasoned breadcrumbs and cheese or just cheese alone. The au gratin topping should be golden brown, which can be achieved by baking or by placing the dish under a broiler (the heat element in the ceiling of an oven, in my oven it is called a grill for some reason). You can make au gratin dishes with seafood, noodles or vegetables. It is also known as a “bake”, i.e. potato bake.

Ingredients

  • medium sliced potatoes
  • about half an onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of cream
  • milk
  • blue cheese
  • half a bunch of spinach or more according to the amount you intend to make
  • 3/4 cup of a soft cheese of your choice (cheddar, mozzarella etc)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Peel and slice potatoes. I use about 7-8 medium to small potatoes for a 9 inch baking dish.
  3. On the stove, briefly fry/saute the spinach with some chopped up onions. The amount of onion you use will correspond to the amount of spinach used. When the spinach has wilted to your satisfaction, remove from heat.
  4. Place spinach in a bowl with potatoes and mix.
  5. Place potatoes into the baking dish (no need to grease)
  6. Pour a cup of cream into the dish, then add milk untill the liquid mixture is just about level with the potatoes.
  7. Sprinkle bits of blue cheese into the mix. The stronger the blue cheese is, the less you should add. 
  8. Cover the dish with foil and bake for an hour.
  9. Uncover, sprinkle the soft cheese and place under the broiler for about 10 minutes or long enough for the top to brown slightly. I sometimes skip this step, add the soft cheese in step 7 and serve after one hour.

    Potatoes “au gratin” without the “au gratin”

The blue cheese that I used the first time I made this dish was very strong and I only needed a 1 and a half inch sized cube. However the second time I made this dish, the cheese I used was much weaker and therefore I used about half the 125g chunk of cheese; I could have used all of it though and skipped the soft cheese part because it was so weak.

I always feel like I need to run a mile after eating this dish because of all that sinful cheese and cream. To make it less evil, you can skip the cream all together and use milk alone. It won’t be as creamy but your waistline will thank you later.

I had the potatoes with a grilled lamb chop and caramelized onions. Yum!

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