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potato au gratin/scalloped potato recipe needed

i need a straight forward recipe for the above (and if anyone can clear up the difference between au gratin and scallopped that would be great too!). my in-laws like very very very simple food. most of what they eat is processed sandra lee fare, but i don't go in for that, so flavorful recipes that don't involve crazy weird things like onions or parsley or blue cheese would be very appreciated! Thanks!

and for the record i adore onions, parsley and blue cheese....

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  1. I usually slice potatoes with a mandoline (super thin), layer them (overlapping a bi) in a gratin or pyrex dish; salt and pepper well, and pour milk/cream over them to cover and bake at 350 till golden on top. Put something under the dish to catch any overflow. Good luck! I cannot believe some people think onions and blue cheese are "weird".

    3 Replies
    1. re: foodslut

      This is basically what I do too but I add slices of butter on the top. Boy is it good. I'm making them again for Easter. I find that they taste better if I make them the day before and warm them again before serving. All the flavors get a chance to set and the potatoes soak up the cream and butter.

      1. re: Cheesy Oysters

        This is great advice. Itryed this last night and it was incredible
        Thank You

      2. re: foodslut

        I make it in a similar way to foodslut. The only difference is that I grate the potatoes in the food processor, and I rub the baking dish with a clove of garlic before filling with the potato mixture. I assume that if onions are weird than garlic might be too much for your inlaws - this way the taste is subtle, and if they don't see it then maybe they won't know. If you're looking for something really cheesy, then just throw some grated cheese into the milk/butter mixture. Maybe this is pushing it, but can you be creative with the cheese? If they like cheddar, then use a really nice, and perhaps slightly different one (I'm thinking something like chevre noir, a quebec goat's cheddar, if it's available near you eLizard).

      3. I think the difference is Au Gratin=cheese and Scalloped=cream sauce.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mojoeater

          Au gratin doesn't necessarily require cheese, though it's come to be equated with cheese. Really it's just potatoes baked with milk and butter, and browned on top.

        2. i recently made this reciipe from epicurious with great results:
          you could use all potatoes if you don't like the idea of sweet potatoes. i sliced them in my cuisinart with the slicer blade, extremely fast and came out beautifully.

          1. I agree with foodslut's advice, but consider adding a dash of nutmet to the cream. Also, when the taters are almost cooked through, throw some grated gruyere on top and finish uncovered. They won't know anything is weird or unusual. They'll just know it's delicious.

            1. Au gratin just refers to a topping of bread crumbs (and sometimes cheese, butter and herbs) sprinkled on top of a casserole and browned under a broiler. Put the topping on scalloped potatoes and they become au gratin potatoes!

              Here is a very simple recipe for Potatoes Dauphinoise... Season some heavy cream with salt and white pepper. Add a clove of garlic crushed through a press and stir. Peel potatoes and cut in 1/8" rounds and place them directly in the cream mixture. Let the potatoes sit for 15-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, so some of the potato starch can dissolve in the cream. Layer the potatoes in a casserole dish, pour over the cream mixture (try to have enough to just cover the potatoes), cover in foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes before removing the foil. At this point, you can either add a topping (gruyere cheese is classical) or not and place the potatoes back in the oven for 10-15 minutes to brown the top. The potatoes should be tender and the cream should have thickened considerably.

              1. Thanks all, i think my original question was off the mark. What they're probably looking for are thin sliced cheesy baked potatoes. I adore dauphinoise but there's not enough cheese for the in-laws. For comparison, my s-i-l makes a cheesy potato dish that looks orange. I've only had a spoonful or so, but everyone else eats it up. I'd like to make something like that, but not so orange or salty. i believe there is probably a can of something or other involved. The dishes suggested while are lovely and right up my alley are too subtle and sophisticated for this event.

                1 Reply
                1. re: eLizard

                  Make your dauphinoise like you normally would, but layer shredded cheese (cheddar or swiss or monterey jack) in between the layers of potato.

                  I can't believe how hard it is to un-refine a recipe!

                2. Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William and Morrow, 1993.

                  Cheesy Potatoes au Gratin:
                  2 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
                  Freshly ground black pepper
                  8 ounces Cheddar, grated
                  1 1/2 cups heavy cream

                  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a medium gratin dish with butter.
                  Cover the bottom of the pan with an overlapping layer of potatoes. Lightly season with salt and pepper and top with a sprinkling of cheese (about 2 tablespoons). Continue layering potatoes, seasoning, and cheese, ending with the remaining cheese on top. Pour the cream over the potatoes, pressing lightly with your hands to cover the potatoes with cream. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until the cheese is absorbed into the potatoes and the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 50 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the mixture is bubbly and the top is golden brown, about 10 minutes.
                  Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before cutting into portions.

                  1. These are wonderful, very simple, I am sure they would love them. Just tell them it is 'swiss' cheese or something, not 'Gruyere' and they won't know the difference. I love to make these in an earthen pie plate, though any baking dish will do. (You could also do them in individual gratin dishes. Either way, it is a good idea, after you assemble it, to weight it down with foil on top, then a plate and a couple of cans, to get it all pressed down, which will make the presentation even better.

                    Also, one note – I rarely do exact measurements here. Just slice enough potatoes as you need for three or four layers (as thin as you can, but don’t drive yourself crazy if you are doing it by hand) and lots of cheese and it always turns out wonderfully. I love this one in particular because of its ease.

                    Gratin Dauphinois

                    1 garlic clove, halved
                    2 pds. potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
                    8 oz. 'Gruyere' cheese grated
                    2 cups milk
                    1/2 cup cream

                    preheat to 375

                    Rub inside of baking dish with garlic

                    Combine potatoes, 3/4 of cheese, milk, cream, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well. Spoon into baking dish, , arranging potatoes in layers with cheese in between, then pouring liquid over potatoes. Cover with remaining cheese.

                    Place in oven and bake about 1 hr. 15 minutes.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: Tom P

                      Tom P, I'm going to give it a try. Thanks for your ease and encouragement, I will indeed be slicing by hand. I am going to use the eqivalent of a 9x13, but oval. I hope that works. A little confused with the mixing all together, then separating into layers, but I'll work it out - will report back.

                      1. re: mohotta


                        How did these come out for you? I've had a request for potatoes au gratin, and am thinking of using Tom's recipe -- I'd love to hear how yours worked.

                        1. re: AnnaEA

                          Let me clarify something that is not as clear as should be in the recipe. And, again, keep in mind you can play with the ingredients and amounts of cheese, etc, to your liking. I like a lot of cheese and A LOT of black pepper in mine, for instance. Once everything is mixed, you can literally dump it all in the dish if you are in a rush, making sure it is relatively layered. Or you can take a little time and layer the potato slices slightly on top of each other, in rounds or straight lines, depending on the dish, and sprinkle cheese and salt and black pepper over each layer as you go, making as many layers as you can, which will vary depending on the depth of the dish and the size of the slices. End pouring the remaining cream in the bowl all over (you can pour a little cream each layer, if you are going the slower route) and a sprinkling of cheese before you preferably weight it down a little bit. The only real difference between a slower prep and ‘dumping it all in’ is presentation: that little bit of time can create a really pressed down, elegant gratin. But the fast way tastes just as good.

                          I hope you all like it, do let us know how it turns out. This is a very versatile dish as well, you can add so much to it. Caramelized onions, bacon or pancetta (already crisped), whatever might sound good to you. Just add them to the layers.

                          1. re: Tom P

                            The potatoes au gratin were a hit with the feller who requested them! He reports they are "the best potatoes au gratin I've ever had". The texture was great, and they had a nice dairy/lightly cheesy flavour.

                            I wimped out on slicing, and just pulled out my box grater and used the "slices" side of it -- it worked very well, but I wouldn't do it for company - it's not so neat as knifework would have been.

                            I think if I make them again, I might add a pinch of salt and pepper - or some grated parm - to the cream - I'm in the boonies, and can't get really good cheese, which I think would make this far more flavourful then my grocery store gruyere was able to. But other then being a little bland for my tastes, the recipe is wonderful.

                            It's definitely a keeper recipe, Tom! Thank you for sharing it -- I can see what you mean about how versatile it is - I'm already concocting a cheddar and sweet onion version in my mind.

                            1. re: AnnaEA

                              I am so glad it went over well! Thank Patricia Wells (grin) it is her recipe, which I adapted slightly. And yes, everytime you make them, you get a better sense of how much more seasoning you want, etc. So they get better each time. I love lots of salt in pepper in mine. Your cheddar and sweet onion idea sounds great, I will have to try that. (I make it with caremlized onions at times and it is terrific.)

                      2. re: Tom P

                        Tom, This looked good to me however, I made them tonight and it separated...tasted good but looked terrible..Where did I go wrong??? 375 too high??? I was sadly disappointed........bummer!!

                        1. re: Tom P

                          Tom, This looked good to me however, I made them tonight and it separated...tasted good but looked terrible..Where did I go wrong??? 375 too high??? I was sadly disappointed........bummer!!

                          1. re: flipkeat

                            Yikes, I don't know! Did you try pressing them down? Perhaps too much milk? It has never been an exact science for me, I have become better and better at it. And I am never adverse to serving something kind of goopy looking as long as it tastes great. If you try again, make sure the liquid does not rise above the top layer of potato so they are not too runny. But give me some more info about what you tried and how they looked and maybe we can figure it out. Sorry about that! I do hope they at least tasted good enough to serve.

                            1. re: Tom P

                              Tom, It did taste good but really looked lousy lol..really really curdled..I used a french earthenware dish for it..The liquid amounts didn't rise above the potatoes..however, I did cook it at 375 for the amount you said..in my oven on convection..perhaps I should have taken it out earlier than the suggested time..?? Perhaps that was it..??

                            2. re: flipkeat

                              There was another thread about these separating and people were trying to guess why but no definitive answer. I've made then couple times lately with a layering potatoes with a very light dusting of flour, some cheese and covering with milk then into the oven. Once it was great and once it separated (water liquid.)

                              Recently I did the gratin but heating the sliced in a pot with cream then placing in the pan with cheese on top and it came out beautifuly (but too rich except for special occasions.)

                              I'm wondering if the heat needs to be lowered when using glass pyrex pans. Alother another thing I read said using all milk and no cream will result in a curdled dish.

                              1. re: coconutz

                                Interesting stuff! I do believe you are on to something. I used to not think much about what I cooked things in, but over the years, the more I cook, the more I realize it does indeed make a difference. I do tend, now, to do my gratins in earthenware dishes rather than pyrex-type dishes, and for the last couple of years, the results have been quite good. And I always tend to use a combo of milk and cream; if anything, I lean toward the decadent with a creamy gratin. (I figure, if it doesn’t look quite right, it will taste great.) Maybe all of that culminates to help. It is difficult to be completely sure.

                                The amount of liquid certainly affects a gratin. There is a terrific tomato, onion and potato gratin in Alice Waters’ VEGETABLES I have made over and over … it is very healthy, just veggies, garlic, wine, broth and seasonings… that I have never been able to get quite right, because it is difficult to gauge the amount of liquid given the juice in the tomatoes. The thing is, it never comes out looking the way I want, but it always tastes so good, no one seems to care.

                          2. My mother-in-law, who was from the Dauphiné, taught me to make Gratin Dauphinois in a slightly more complicated way than the rest of you do: I peel and slice the potatoes thin (thank you, food processor!), then sauté them on top of the stove. I also heat up the milk (to which I add some garlic) while the oven is preheating. Put potatoes into a greased enamel cast-iron pan, top up with hot milk, fresh-grate some nutmeg (always excellent with dairy sauces), and occasionally add grated Swiss cheese or crème fraîche, or both. It'll bake in about 30-40 mins.
                            My sister in law used to throw some spicy French mustard into the milk mix. Not bad!

                            1. You say the Outlaws are simple folk, so here is my Mom's infamous Cheesy Potato Bake that she got from a friend in Wisconsin

                              1 pkg frozen Oreida hashbrown potatoes 32 oz
                              1 stick margarine (Fleishmans is often used)
                              1 lb velveeta cheese
                              1 pint half and half ( I know this sounds goofy but you can get fat free half and half)

                              Melt Margarine and cheese (Mom uses microwave), then stir in half and half
                              Spread potatoes in pan and pour cheese mixture over them and Bake 1 hour (or more if needed) in a 350 degree oven.

                              Mixture looks little runny when done BUT it sets up very well once out of the oven (also will get browned on top around the edges which is just fine.