Prep 30 mins
Cook 2 hrs
This delicious and addictive potato bake is the final product of every Potato Dauphinoise or Potato Au Gratin recipe I have ever tried or read. It is extremely forgiving and versatile if you adhere to three key principles: 1. The potatoes are sliced very thinly. 2. The liquid completely covers the potatoes after about a quarter of an hour in the oven. 3. It bakes for one and a half hours. This is one of those magical dishes that tastes great straight out of the oven but seems to be even tastier the next day after being chilled and then reheated. It reheats fabulously in the microwave.
- 1 kg potato, peeled and left in a bowl of water, these can be ANY variety and 1kg is usually 7 to 10 medium to la
- butter, to grease the baking dish
- 400 ml cream
- 250 ml milk
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons pepper (white or black)
- 1 large onion, peeled, halved and sliced
- 2 leeks, topped-and-tailed, outer layer peeled, leeks well rinsed, halved lengthwise and finely sliced
- 4 spring onions, finely sliced, including most of the tasty greener parts (these are also called green onions or scallions)
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated, any similar flavourful cheese is fine
- 1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese, grated, any similar dry flavourful cheese is fine
- Slice the potatoes as thinly as you can, 2cm or so. Use your food processor, a mandolin slicer or do them by hand (by hand takes a long time but can be very calming and therapeutic!) They don't have to be perfect - some can be thicker and some can be thinner.
- Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius and generously butter a large rectangular oven-proof dish. I prefer a transparent one such as a Pyrex since it's easier to see what's happening with the cream and milk. Ceramic or earthenware is also fine.
- In a saucepan heat the cream, milk, minced garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper. (A secret: I usually replace salt with Kikkoman soya sauce for some added umami flavour, at a ratio of about 1 tablespoon of soya sauce per teaspoon of salt.) Allow the liquid to just begin simmering and then switch off the heat.
- First layer: In the casserole dish place a layer of about a quarter of the potato slices. A great tip is that THEY DON'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT! They just need to be spread out so that you can't see the bottom of the dish. Top with about a third of the onion, a third of the leek, a third of the spring onion and a third of the grated cheddar (or similar) cheese.
- Second layer: A quarter of the potato slices, and a third each of the onion, leek, spring onion and cheddar.
- Evenly pour about half the warm creamy mix over. It doesn't have to be perfectly distributed because the oven and the heat will work their magic on the ingredients.
- Third layer: A quarter of the potato slices, and a third each of the onion, leek, spring onion and cheddar.
- Fourth layer: A quarter of the potato slices and all of the parmesan or similar dry cheese.
- Finally pour over the rest of the liquid and put in the 200 degree C oven.
- When the liquid starts bubbling around the outside of the dish, which should be after about 10 to 15 minutes, remove the dish from the oven for a minute and use a flat slotted lifter to press down all over the potato bake so that the liquid just covers the top. Return to the oven.
- Turn down the heat to 160 degrees Celsius and bake for another hour and 15 minutes or so, until the top is semi-browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Slice your potato bake into 8 portions. When you choose to slice it depends on how you are going to serve it. It's ideal to allow it to cool fully, in the refrigerator if you'll be serving it the next day, and then slice before re-heating; in this way you get neater slices. Otherwise if you're serving it immediately just slice and serve.