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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Sunday, March 25, 2018

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped Potatoes

I was never a big fan of scalloped potatoes growing up.  I had a thing about mushy food, so that's probably why I didn't appreciate them.  As with so many things, my tastes have changed over the years.  It also helps that I am making my own recipes so I know what goes into them and can appreciate the finished product more. 

Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

This is not a simple weeknight recipe, but it's not that complicated and the results are definitely worth the effort!  This is the perfect choice to serve with ham, and I'm going to halve the recipe for Easter dinner for two this weekend. 

A large gratin dish is great for this recipe, or you can use any glass baking dish. 

sliced potatoes

I find that slicing the potatoes in the food processor with the slicing blade really simplifies things.  But you can slice by hand or on a mandoline if you prefer.  It just takes more time. The important thing is to have thin, even slices of potato. 

Scalloped Potatoes

The potatoes are boiled in milk, then placed in a buttered gratin dish.  I like lots of black pepper. 

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

The potatoes are then covered in the scalded milk and shredded gruyere cheese, then baked until brown and bubbly.  The cheese gets shredded in the food processer too, to make life easy.  

Scalloped Potatoes

You end up with these amazing, creamy, cheesy potatoes.  The crispy edges are the best part!

Here's the recipe.  Enjoy!

3 pounds yellow-fleshed potatoes
3 cups whole milk
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup whipping cream
150 grams gruyere cheese, shredded
salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Peel and thinly slice potatoes using a food processor with the slicing blade or a mandoline.  Place potato slices in a large pot and cover with milk. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Occasionally gently scrape the bottom of the pot so the potatoes don't stick, but be careful not to break up the potato slices.  

Drain the potatoes in a colander over a bowl to reserve the milk. You should have 2 cups of milk remaining.  If not, add additional milk to make 2 cups.  

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Use a large oval gratin dish or rectangular glass baking dish. Slice the garlic clove in half and rub the cut halves all over the inside of the baking dish.  Brush the melted butter all over the inside of the dish. 

Carefully layer the potatoes in the baking dish.  Sprinkle each layer with salt and pepper.  Pour milk and cream over potatoes.  Top with shredded cheese. 

Bake for about 90 minutes until milk has become creamy and thick but not dry, and cheese is deep golden brown.  If the cheese begins to become too brown, you can cover the dish loosely with foil to finish cooking.  

Let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. I suggest serving with glazed ham

cheesy scalloped potatoes

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Pan-Seared Chicken with Maitake Mushroom Cream Sauce

chicken with maitake mushrooms

I love finding local treasures - especially foods produced close to home.  I recently discovered that a company is producing maitake mushrooms right around the corner from our house!  

maitake mushrooms

Also known as "hen-of-the-woods" mushrooms, maitake are tasty and said to have cancer-fighting properties.  Here's an article about the local production facility here in London. 

maitake mushroom

The mushroom has a thick base but is topped with petal-like segments that are thin and delicate.  Cut off the base or pick off the tops to separate pieces easily. 

chicken with maitake mushrooms

In this recipe the mushrooms are sauteed and then cooked with wine and cream into a thick, rich sauce served with crisp-skinned chicken.  It's delicious!

chicken with maitake mushrooms

I cut the chicken into 8 parts - 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, and split each breast in two, keeping the wings on. I ended up taking the bone out of the breasts, which makes a lovely presentation. 

This isn't the most quick and simple recipe, but it's definitely doable for Sunday dinner and impressive for company.  I served it with roasted cauliflower, but it would be nice with a green salad or steamed broccoli.  

Here's the recipe...

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup white wine
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup whipping cream
230g maitake mushrooms (or mushroom of your choice)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and place them, skin side down, in the sizzling butter. Cook for 10 minutes until deeply browned, then flip and cook for another 5 minutes.  Remove chicken to a baking sheet and roast in the oven until cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, add the diced onion to the pan drippings and cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the wine and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the wine is mostly evaporated. Add the stock and cream and simmer about 10 minutes until thickened. 

Break apart the maitake mushroom.  Heat the last two tablespoons of butter in a separate pan and add the mushrooms. Cook until slightly browned, about 8 minutes. Toss the mushrooms with the cream sauce.

Put some mushrooms and sauce on the plate and place the chicken on top. Drizzle sauce over top. 


chicken with maitake mushrooms