A New Twist on Au Gratin Potatoes (aka Scalloped Potatoes)

A New Twist on Au Gratin Potatoes (aka Scalloped Potatoes)

I love potatoes, don’t you?  Adding cream (or milk) and butter only makes them better.  When I was growing up, I always loved my mom’s scalloped potatoes, which I later learned are also called au gratin potatoes.  Mom’s version was very simple:  thinly sliced potatoes, milk, butter, salt and pepper.  No cheese.  I have made this recipe many, many times and always eat more than I should.  Sometimes, I even add cheese.  But I started thinking that a hybrid version that alternated russet potatoes slices with sweet potato slices might be really good and would add color to the dish, so I decided to experiment.

I started by using my trusty mandolin (one of my favorite kitchen tools) to thinly slice one large russet potato and one large sweet potato.

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In a buttered dish, I alternated the two types of potatoes, overlapping them like shingles on a roof.  After sprinkling the potatoes with salt and pepper, I cut up a tablespoon of butter into 9 cubes and placed them on top of the potatoes.

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Now it was time to sprinkle a tablespoon of flour over the potatoes and butter.

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Time for the second layer of potatoes. 

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Don’t forget to season as you go.  Each layer needs a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

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The goal is a creamy multi-layered potato dish, so each layer also gets the butter and flour to ensure that the flavors are evenly distributed throughout.

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Be sure to sprinkle the flour evenly over the second layer of potatoes. 

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Now for the cream or milk.  I added milk until the milk came half way up the sides of the baking dish.  I used whole milk, but you can lower the fat by using 2% milk or go all-out decadent with half-and-half or cream.  The combination of butter, flour and milk will create a lovely béchamel like sauce between each layer of potatoes as the dish bakes.  This recipe will even work with skim milk, which I have experimented with in the all-russet-potato version, but it will not have the same creaminess or béchamel-like sauce between the layers. 

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Now it was time to bake the potatoes.  375 degrees F works well.  I covered the potatoes with aluminum foil and baked them until they were almost tender.  Then I removed the foil, and finished baking the potatoes until they were tender.  By removing the foil, it allowed the potatoes to brown on top. 

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Finally, it was time for the taste test.  Amazing!  The two types of potatoes made for a fantastic combination of textures and flavors.  The russet potatoes still had a slightly firm texture while the sweet potatoes practically melted in my mouth.  I will definitely be repeating this experiment.  Hope you enjoy it too!

 

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