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Monday, April 19, 2010

Easy Potatoes au Gratin

quick and easy potatoes au gratin

This classic French dish is certainly to be enjoyed in its traditional form, with delicious cheese sauce, baked for a good hour and a half. But, since I like to take short-cuts without sacrificing the taste (much), this has become a nice weeknight meal, especially on cold nights.

Basically, the short-cut I take is in making the sauce and the cooking time: I use canned creamy soup, grated cheese, and cook for about 35-45 minutes till done. As I make this with the kids in mind, I add some mixed vegetables and leave out the onions. So, while not quite authentic, this potatoes-and-cheese dish seems to be well-loved at home.

Ingredients
4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced in rounds
1 can cream of celery or cream of potato soup
1 stick of celery diced finely (optional)
½ cup frozen mixed vegetables (optional)
1 clove of garlic, put through a garlic press, or grated finely
1 cup freshly grated Colby Jack cheese
½ cup water, as needed
salt and ground black pepper to taste
spring onion, chives for garnish (optional)

Preparation
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F
  2. Grease a casserole/baking dish with vegetable spray and arrange the sliced potatoes in overlapping layers; toss in the frozen vegetables and celery, if using
  3. Sauce: Empty the can of soup into sauce pan, add about half a can of water to keep the soup fairly thick, and heat it, stirring well, till it boils; adjust flavors to taste
  4. Pour the hot thick soup over the potatoes in the baking dish, top with grated Colby Jack cheese, cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes till bubbly and potatoes are done (if potatoes are not sliced thin enough, increase baking time accordingly)
  5. Uncover the foil and bake another 10 minutes or so till cheese is bubbly and slightly brown
  6. Garnish as desired and serve warm

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