Recipe of the Week: Au Gratin Potatoes from Scratch

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At our retreat, our most important vegetable plantings will be potatoes (high carb, dense, high energy, keepers) and onions (keepers with the ability to intensely or subtlety flavor dishes). The lettuce, tomatoes, beans, and what all will be secondary.

  • 10 Yukon gold potatoes
  • 3-4 Tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 4 c milk
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 c shredded or cubed cheese cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Paprika
  • Breadcrumbs, optional
  • Fresh thyme, optional

Wash, peel potatoes, and slice on a mandolin. (A mandolin is quicker than knife work and makes uniform slices. Just be sure to use the food holder. After slicing my fingers several times, I finally learned to be smarter. Ignore what you see on Food Network, those guys are pros. Use the protector.) Set aside potatoes.

Sauté onion in olive oil, until golden. Next, sauté garlic for only one minute. Set aside. Now you make a roux. Melt butter, then add flour. Stir, and a ball will form. Cook a couple of minutes to lightly brown and get rid of the raw flour taste. Add milk slowly, whisking constantly until milk mixture thickens. Add shredded cheese. (Last time I made this dish I just used some leftover cheese: cheddar cubes, pepper jack cubes, and shredded cheddar from a package.) After cheese melts, stir in onion mixture.

Pam a crockpot, and layer 1/2 the potatoes in the crockpot. Pour 1/2 the cheese mixture over the potatoes. Repeat with the other half potatoes and half cheese mixture. You can top with toasted panko crumbs or regular breadcrumbs. Dot breadcrumbs with butter. Sprinkle top with paprika for color. Strip leaves off fresh thyme, and sprinkle them around the top of dish. Cook on high for four hours.

This dish is easy, a crowd pleaser, filling, nutritious, and can be a vegetarian entree. Serve with a green salad or a fruit salad and some artisan bread. It’s a forgiving recipe, so you don’t have to be exact with the ingredients.

Serves 10+

This recipe can be easily adapted for cast iron cooking. Pre-heat pot, follow instructions above, place coals on top of lid for even cooking.

Storage and pantry application:

  • Freeze-dried or dehydrated onion
  • Freeze-dried potatoes
  • Dried milk
  • Canned butter

From the garden:

  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Potatoes
  • Thyme

On hand:

  • Condiments

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