Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Swiss Scalloped Sweet & Russet Potatoes
Most scalloped potato dishes do not incorporate cheese; that ingredient is usually reserved for au gratin recipes. So maybe this should be called Sweet & Russet Potatoes Au Gratin. But then au gratin refers to the toasty breadcrumb crust and this dish doesn’t have that! What’s a cook to do?
Well, when something this trivial gives me a headache, then it’s comfort food to the rescue! And nothing says comfort food like a dish of creamy, steaming potatoes.
The process of preparing this dish is almost as comforting as eating it – almost. This is one of those recipes in which the layering of flavors is not only a technique but a visible result. As you build the physical layers with the ingredients that you have prepared, you get a sense of accomplishment during the preparation steps and not just when the dish is finished. This one looks almost as good going into the oven as it does coming out – almost! I think I’ll leave the name alone and just enjoy the results.
Swiss Scalloped Sweet & Russet Potatoes
Yield: 6 Servings Preparation Time: 30 Minutes Cooking Time: 45 Minutes
• 3 Strips Thick cut Bacon, cut into ½” pieces
• 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
• ½ Sweet Onion, thinly sliced
• 2 Cups Heavy Cream
• 2 Cups Half & Half
• 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
• 2 Teaspoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper
• 2 Pounds Russet Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
• 1 Pound Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
• 8 Ounces Swiss cheese, grated
Step 1. Preheat oven to 400ºF and grease a large (2 quart) gratin or shallow casserole dish.
Step 2. Cook the Bacon in a Dutch oven set over medium heat until done but not too crisp then drain on paper towel. Reserve the fat in the pot and keep over heat.
Step 3. Add 1 tablespoon of the Unsalted Butter to the fat in the pan and sauté the sliced Onion until wilted. Transfer the cooked Onions to a bowl and set aside.
Step 4. Add Cream, Half & Half, Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to the remaining fat in the hot pot and stir to combine.
Step 5. Add the Sweet and Russet Potato slices to the pot and make sure they are all covered by the liquid. (Add more Half & Half if necessary) Increase heat to medium-high heat to bring to simmer then reduce heat to low and simmer until the Potatoes are tender but still firm, about 8 minutes.
Step 6. Use a slotted spoon to transfer and separate the cooked Sweet Potato and Russet Potato slices into two bowls. Let the Cream mixture continue to steam over very low heat.
Step 7. Arrange half of the Russet Potato slices on the bottom of the greased baking dish. Spread ⅓ of the cooked Onions on top of the Potatoes and ⅓ of the Bacon on top of the Onions. Sprinkle ⅓ of the shredded Swiss Cheese over everything and then ladle 1 cup of the steaming Cream over the cheese.
Step 8. Make a second layer, using all of the Sweet Potato slices in place of the Russet but don’t add the Cream to this layer.
Step 9. Top with a final layer using the remaining Russet Potato slices and this time finish with the Cream. Allow the remaining Cream to continue to steam very slowly, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half.
Step 10. Put the gratin dish on a baking sheet, to catch any over spill, and bake for 30 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. While the Au Gratin is resting, stir the remaining 1 tablespoon of Unsalted Butter into the hot Cream until blended, adjust seasoning and pour through a wire mesh strainer into a sauce boat.
Serve this, and any other gratin, in its baking dish – the bubbly, browned crust always brings oohs and ahhs! Serve the reduced sauce on the side.
Tips and Trending
~ When layering the potatoes, you can combine both types in each layer. Just use ⅓ of the potatoes for each layer.
~ After you’ve made this dish for the first time, you can adjust the amount of the heated cream added to the layers to increase or decrease the amount of moisture to your preference.
~ To fully “au gratin-ize” this dish, you can combine ½ cup of panko style breadcrumbs with the final layer of cheese.