Saturday, October 25, 2014

Out of this world Au Gratin

Good evening everyone! We’ve been blogging in our little corner of the internet for quite a while now (4 years and counting). During that time, we’ve cooked up hundreds of unique recipes. Some have been instant hits; others have had room for improvement.

My point is, we’ve had some great dishes cross our table in four years. So, when I start tonight’s blog by saying this recipe is probably in my top 5 all time recipes, I think it should carry some weight.

I discovered tonight’s recipe in the Hy-Vee Seasons magazine (a publication issued by the Midwestern grocery store chain) and was intrigued at the unique combination of ingredients and decided to give it a shot. Boy, am I glad I did!

The Recipe: Potatoes Au Gratin
Original Recipe Found In: Hy-Vee Seasons Magazine – October 2014 Issue

What You’ll Need:
1 Large White Onion (Diced fine)
2 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
6 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
3 ½ Cups Milk (Low fat preferred)
4 Cups Thinly Sliced Sweet Potatoes (Roughly 1.5 Pounds)
4 Cups Thinly Sliced Yukon Gold Potatoes (Roughly 1.5 Pounds)
8 Ounces Asiago Cheese (Shredded – better if you shred it yourself)
½ Cup Fresh Parmesan Cheese
6 Slices Thick Cut Bacon (Cooked, crumbled)

You’ll want to use a mandolin to slice the potatoes as a consistent cut will help with both building the recipe and keeping even cooking. Set the mandolin to the medium setting (typically ½ inch) and slice all of the potatoes at the same setting.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prep a 3 quart baking dish (with lid) with a generous coating of non-stick cooking spray. (It’s a great idea to spray the underside of the lid too).

To make the sauce, melt the butter in stock pot over medium high heat and then add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion turns translucent and is cooked through, this should take about 5 minutes. Next, whisk in the flour, salt, and pepper. Continue to whisk as you add the milk (all 3 ½ cups worth). Reduce the heat to medium and allow the mixture to simmer (stirring occasionally) until the mixture begins to thicken. It’s tough to gauge at first, as the mixture doesn’t really change for the first 5 minutes of cooking, but very shortly after the first five minutes, you should really see the sauce start to thicken and cling to the spoon. Once you’ve reached that point, you’re ready to move to the next stage.

Use a ladle to transfer enough of the sauce to cover the bottom of your baking dish. Next, layer the potatoes evenly across the bottom (on top of the sauce). I alternated Yukon gold with sweet potato and gently overlapped each edge to form a solid layer. Top this potato layer with 1/3 of the asiago cheese, then top that with another ladle full of the sauce.

Repeat this process three times (Sauce, potatoes, cheese – repeat) until you’ve used all of potatoes and sauce. If done correctly, you should be topping the last bit of asiago with the last ladle full of sauce. Finally, top THIS layer with the parmesan cheese, making sure to evenly cover the entire dish. Place the lid atop the baking dish and transfer it to your oven to cook for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and take off the lid. Return the dish to oven (uncovered) for 40 to 50 minutes or until the cheese becomes deep golden brown in color. At that point, remove the dish from the oven and let the dish stand for 10 minutes before topping with bacon. Serve and enjoy!

The Results:

As I mentioned in the open, this is a top five recipe in terms of our blog. The flavor of this dish is simply incredible. The Yukon gold and sweet potatoes blend beautifully with the asiago cheese while the sauce binds the entire dish together. There simply are not enough adequate words within the English language to describe my love for the final product…it’s brilliant and well worth the time and effort to try it for yourself.

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