Sunday, November 21, 2010

Perfectly Cheesy Potatoes au Gratin

Perfect Potatoes au Gratin, made with thinly sliced potatoes in a cheesy dreamy cream sauce.

Cheesy Potatoes au Gratin

Hello Scalloped Potatoes, meet the best, perfectly cheesy, Potatoes au Gratin, evah. Ya know, seriously... I am of the opinion that it'd be kinda hard to mess up a dish of potatoes au gratin no matter what you do to them - I mean c'mon now. Potatoes. Cheese. Butter. Cream. Hello. If you're making this for the holidays, you'll want to double the ingredients and do extra layers.

Well, I personally love Julia's way with this classic potato dish, however I decided to play with it a bit. You know. For the holidays. Julia uses Swiss cheese to transform her scalloped potatoes to cheesy au gratin potatoes, but since cheddar is more mainstream in most households, I switched over to cheddar for this one.

Cheddar can be a bit fussy on its own though so I thought I would add in a little bit of my beloved Velveeta too. Now I know that some of you running across this are going to scoff at my use of Velveeta, and frankly that's perfectly okay. You don't have to use it, but I love it, and especially love to add some in with macaroni and cheese. If you want a guaranteed, creamy sauce without the notorious curdling cheddar is known for, then add a little bit of Velveeta in there and see what a difference it makes.

Not at all hard, this dish is a simple, small cheese sauce, poured over the top of layers of very thin sliced potatoes, each sprinkled with salt, pepper, and some shredded cheese - here cheddar. A mandoline is key for these kinds of potatoes I think, but if you don't happen to own one, you can simply slice the potatoes by hand.

If you like your potatoes sliced thicker, or you don't have a mandolin, cut them about 1/4 inch thick, place them into a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat, remove pot from the burner, and let them sit in the water for 5 minutes. Drain well, pat dry and proceed.

Recipe: Perfectly Cheesy Potatoes au Gratin

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 min |Cook time: 20 min | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings

  • 2 pounds of baking potatoes (about 6 medium)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 6 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 cups of half and half
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 ounces of Velveeta, cubed
  • About 2-1/2 cups of shredded sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly smash and peel the garlic; rub all over a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Butter the dish and set aside.

Peel the potatoes and slice thin, about 1/8 inch. A mandolin works fantastic for this, but see the tip below if you are hand slicing. Hold the potatoes in a bowl of cool water to keep. Once you are ready to layer the dish, drain the potatoes and then transfer them to a clean dish towel and pat thoroughly dry.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan or large skillet, heat the butter with the half and half until the butter is melted and the half and half is hot. Stir in the Velveeta and 1/2 cup of the cheddar, or whatever cheese you are using. Cook and stir over medium heat until all of the cheese is melted and mixture is smooth.

Layer 1/2 of the potatoes in the bottom of the buttered baking dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle about 1/3 of the remaining cheese on top. Repeat the layer of potatoes, salt and pepper and another 1/3 of the cheese. Reserve the last 1/3 of the shredded cheese for the last few minutes of cooking. You can also use more cheese in the layers and on top if you like.

Pour the cheese sauce evenly over the top of the casserole and bake, uncovered, at 425 degrees F, for about 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly and potatoes are fork tender. Remove from the oven, top with the remaining shredded cheese and return to the oven for about 5 minutes, or until cheese begins to brown. Serves about 8 - prepare extra layers to double, testing potatoes in the center before topping with the final cheese and returning to the oven.

Tip: If you like your potatoes sliced thicker, or you don't have a mandolin, cut the potatoes about 1/4 inch thick, place them into a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat, remove pot from the burner, and let them sit in the water for 5 minutes. Drain well, pat dry and proceed.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on November 21, 2010

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  1. Cheesy potatoes is always a good thing!

  2. haven't met a cheesy spud I don't like...yum = )

  3. Love these tators Mary...these are a major temptation for me! I too like to use Velveeta because of it's creaminess.

  4. ohmygosh this looks WONderful. I've always used cheddar cheese for any cheesy potato dish. I'd like to try Julia's swiss cheese idea.

  5. I can't wait to try this recipe out for Christmas dinner, your site is fantastic!!!!!! It has everything a wanna be southern cook would want to see and drool over!

  6. Can I make this the night ahead and keep it in the fridge until the next day?

    1. I'm not the biggest fan of made ahead potato dishes but you certainly can do it! Just assemble, make sure the potato slices are completely submerged in the sauce and wrap tightly. If they aren't covered completely they will turn an ugly grey color. Bring to room temperature before baking. Better is to make and bake, then reheat, but reheated foods are never quite the same as freshly made. You'll need to slightly underbake, let cool, wrap tightly and refrigerate. Let come to room temperature then bake on a low to moderate heat, probably around 350 degrees until warmed through - just not sure exactly how long, maybe 30-45 minutes.


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