French Potatoes Gratin Dauphinoise with Bacon.
I’m not sure that there is anything more decadent and comforting than tender potatoes in a creamy garlic sauce with cheese which is then baked in the oven?
Well perhaps there is. How about adding bacon to it? After all, everything is better with bacon! Better than that, what if I said that there is no cream in this dish so the calorie count is slashed already?
If you follow French cuisine you probably know that potatoes gratin Dauphinoise is traditionally made with cream. Ironically, I am surrounded by cows in fields, yet buying cream here is an absolute nightmare! It is often UHT or mixed with something else which means it often doesn’t behave as expected. For this reason I rarely buy cream and use creme fraiche as it is more stable for cooking with. If you can buy single cream then you can substitute for the milk and flour in the recipe. However, using milk instead makes the dish slightly lower in fat and cheaper to make too! I use semi-skimmed milk.
Like Cassoulet, which has different ingredients depending on the region, potatoes gratin Dauphinoise has different variations too. Some people just wipe garlic around the dish, others favour no cheese or just Gruyere. I think it’s more fun to add extra ingredients so I often add in some smoked bacon lardons or some fried leeks or some sliced spring onions. You could even add some leftover roast chicken, chopped peppers or slices of courgette. It’s easy to make this dish a meal. Just don't tell my French friends what I do!
For Potatoes Gratin Dauphinoise the potatoes need to be sliced thinly to get some nice layers so I find it easier to use a food processor but if the potatoes are scrubbed there is no need to peal them first. Put the sliced potatoes in boiling water for a couple of minutes then drain. Fry the lardons in their own fat and set aside. Combine the cornflour with a tablespoon of water then add to the milk in a saucepan. Bring to the boil until slightly thickened. Grease a shallow baking dish and add half of the potatoes, season, add the bacon, cheese, nutmeg and then repeat. Pour on the hot milk, grate on nutmeg, cover with foil and bake for about 40 minutes until tender. Remove the foil, sprinkle on cheese and grill until hot and bubbling.
This is such a versatile dish as an accompaniment or a comfort meal in itself. It’s also frugal to make but is always popular when you are entertaining as it can be made in individual pots in advance.
What do you put in yours?
These Potatoes Gratin Dauphinoise are the perfect accompaniment to Duck with Redcurrant Sauce.
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- 900 G Potatoes Peeled and finely sliced
- 100 G Grated cheese Preferably Gruyere
- 300 ML Milk
- 200 G Smoked bacon lardons
- 1/2 Tsp Grated nutmeg
- 3 Tsp Cornflour
- 2 Cloves Crushed garlic
- 25 G Butter
- Put the sliced potatoes in boiling water for about 2 minutes until lightly cooked then drain.
- Fry the lardons in their own fat and set aside.
- Combine the cornflour with a little of the milk or water then mix with the milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until thickened then remove from the heat.
- Grease a shallow oven proof dish and add half of the potatoes in a layer.
- Season and add half of the nutmeg, cheese and butter and all of the lardons then.
- Add the remaining potatoes, nutmeg, butter and seasoning before covering in foil.
- Bake at 180 C for about 40 minutes until tender.
- Sprinkle over the cheese and place under a medium grill until bubbling.