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Super Easy Potatoes Au Gratin

April 20, 2012
Finished Potatoes Au Gratin

Comfort food central!  Starch + cheese = just the right amount of “not good for you” to be good for you!  Seriously, cholesterol aside, this dish will have your family begging for more. It’s so much better than the box, trust me.

I don’t remember ever having this homemade anywhere, it’s just something I like the convenience version of and decided to make it “real”. Nothing premade here!  Plus, there’s bacon.

Right down to the nitty-gritty.

Ingredients for Potatoes Au Gratin

Ingredients for Potatoes Au Gratin

Ingredients

Béchamel Sauce which is:

  • 1 Tablespoon bacon fat (if you don’t have any stored, cook 3 slices of thin bacon or 1 slice of thick bacon and use the drippings from that to approximate a tablespoon)
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated or very finely minced
  • 2 lbs potatoes, roughly 4 small to medium
  • Water to cover potatoes
  • Salt to taste for boiling potatoes
  • 1 cup cheese of your choice, I used Cheddar

Hardware

  • Mandoline
  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Medium Pot
  • Small Pot
  • 8×8 Baking Pan
Dice Onions

Dice Onions

I don’t peel my potatoes for this recipe. It’s up to you, but the skins are so thin they are hardly noticeable on the slices once everything is put together and baked. So peel or don’t peel your potatoes. Wash them well either way and slice them 3/16 to ¼ inch thick with a mandoline or knife and a steady hand. Place the potatoes in a medium pot, and barely cover with water. Most folks boil things in

Barely Cover Thinly Sliced Potatoes with Water

Barely Cover Thinly Sliced Potatoes with Water

far too much water. I can’t think of anything besides pasta where more water is better. It just takes longer to boil! Salt the water to taste, like you would for mashed potatoes. I use about a teaspoon. Boil until tender but not mush. About 15 minutes. If your slices are small, start checking around 10 minutes. Pop the lid on and get started on the béchamel.

Over medium high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in a small pot. Sauté your onion until caramelized. Add the garlic toward the end when the onion is just beginning to brown to avoid over

Stir in Cheese

Stir in Cheese

cooking the garlic and turning it bitter.  Toss in the flour and stir until the dry is absorbed. Slowly whisk in your milk until the flour is combined and not lumpy. Continue to stir until the mixture comes to a simmer boarding on a boil. For most dishes utilizing a béchamel this is the thickest your sauce will get. If you skimped on the flour it will be thin – but luckily the baking will firm it up a little in the baking process. Now add your cup of cheese.  You can use any cheese you fancy here or even a mixture. I used good ole’ cheddar this time. Stir the cheese in until the sauce is smooth.

Layer Sauce and Potatoes

Layer Sauce and Potatoes

Assembly: Drain your potatoes and place half in the 8×8 dish. Pour half your sauce on top. Repeat. Now at this point you can add bacon crumbles if you had to fry up bacon to get your bacon grease (or had some leftover, I know – I know, leftover bacon is a myth) and extra cheese on top.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. The top will be nice and brown and bubbly.  Let sit for 10 minutes after baking to firm up.

Finished Potatoes Au Gratin

Finished Potatoes Au Gratin

Tah-dah – a nice homemade side that took almost no effort to make. Cutting and stirring, that’s about it. Now with your new found skill, take a minute to search the net for gratins… the results will astound you.  You can slice just about anything up, cover it in cheese, bake and have a tasty meal.  Go to town!

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