Posts tagged ‘leeks’

April 13, 2012

Friday Recipe: Ina’s Potato-Fennel Gratin

I’m not going to lie, these potatoes are sinful.  And I attempted to serve them on Easter, but I accidentally left the whole pan of taters in the fridge at home.  Or perhaps I sub-consciously did it on purpose so I could have them all for myself, I’m not sure.

Here’s the deal: there is a ton of fat in this recipe.  After sauteing your veggies and layering it all in a large pan, you dump in 2 cups of heavy cream and 2 1/2 cups of cheese!  As you can imagine, it turns the lowly potato into velvety goodness.  But if you eat these potatoes too often you are going to have to invest in bigger pants so save it for special occasions like Christmas.  Or a Tuesday.

The recipe comes from none other than the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, and can be found in her cookbook The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook AND can be found online at the Food Network.  Before I started cooking I read through most of the comments and there are some slight adjustments the other reviewers suggested and wholeheartedly agree:

  • You can cut the cream in half and replace it with whole milk.  If you use the full amount of cream (which is what I did) you will end up with a delightfully creamy dish but there will also be a pool of butter-fat swimming at the top of your dish.  Go ahead and replace some of that high fat dairy with a lower fat option, it will still be delicious.
  • Based on other readers suggestions I boosted up the flavors with a few sprigs worth of chopped thyme, 1 garlic clove, extra pepper, and replaced half of the onion with a sauteed leek.  It added some terrific layers of flavor.
  • Feel free to swap out the cheese for whatever you have on hand.  In addition to the Gruyere I added a few grates of parmesan because I love it.  I also grated some parmesan over the dish in the last 5 minutes and broiled it till browned.
  • You can make this dish ahead of time by preparing everything as listed, then baking it for roughly half the time (45 mins or so) just to get everything “set” then refrigerate after it has cooled off.  Then when you are ready to serve, throw it in the oven for the remainder of time (another 45 min or so).  Just don’t put it in the fridge and forget that it’s there.  I’m just saying, it can happen to some people.
  • If you have a mandolin or a little slicer like this one from Kyocera,  now would be a good time to pull it out.  I was able to slice up my potatoes and fennel so fast and evenly, much thinner than I could have done by hand and definitely more consistent.
  • Note that this recipe serves 10 so unless you are making it for a small army (which happens to be the size of my family) then I’d cut it in half.

As for the process itself, it’s pretty straightforward: slice up your potatoes and let them soak in the cream while you saute your aromatics.  Dump all of that plus the cheeses in a buttered dish and bake for roughly 1 1/2 hours.  You can find the full recipe by clicking here.

It’s blustery and rainy here in CA but there is the promise of sunshine for the weekend.  I sure hope so, my skin is turning an unattractive shade of pale!

March 1, 2011

Simplest Chicken and Leek Stew: Food and Wine Mag

I just have to share this one.  I made this for dinner tonight after reading about it in Food and Wine Magazine. It’s called Simplest Chicken-and-Leek Stew by Jamie Oliver (you know, the quirky British guy) from their recent “diet” issue. It was easy, not terribly high in calories  and so, so good!

I did make one slight adjustment, I de-glazed with about 1/2 cup of white wine along with the chicken stock, since I needed to use it up, but other than that I followed the recipe and I will definitely be making it again.

I’m especially fond of the leeks in this recipe. Leeks are my new obsession. Their flavor is  similar to an onion but without the bite and almost buttery flavor.

I wish I had taken a picture of it for you… but I was too hungry to stop and grab my camera.  Here’s the picture from Food and Wine:

Food and Wine Magazine

Eating the leftovers over a little brown rice for lunch tomorrow.  That’s a big deal, I don’t usually do leftovers. Make it! You won’t be disappointed!


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