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Monday, May 10, 2010

Au Gratin Potatoes

We had my wife’s mother over for an early mothers day dinner and my wife asked me to make Au Gratin Potatoes to go with the meal. In the past, my wife has always made the Au Gratin Potatoes and she said that I should use the recipe in our vintage Betty Crocker Cookbook.

I looked up the recipe and made sure we had enough cheese, potato, and onions. I had already been to the store and purchased a can of breadcrumbs and I was ready to go.

About three hours before it was time for dinner, I peeled six medium russet potatoes and sliced them into (what I thought were) thin slices. I turned on the oven to 325 degrees and started on the cheese sauce.

I put the 1/4-cup of margarine in a saucepan and add set the heat to medium. While the margarine was heating, I chopped 1/2 an onion that I had left over in the refrigerator. The recipe calls for one medium onion chopped, but my chopped 1/2 onion was over a cup worth. We decided to just use the 1/2-cup, but wonder were Betty found a medium onion the size of a golf ball.

While I was working on the onions, my wife used our new box grater to grated three cups of Tillamook cheddar cheese and layered the sliced potato pieces into a casserole dish.

Once the margarine melted, I added the onion into the pan and cooked it until it was tender. Then I added two-tablespoons of flour, one-teaspoon of salt, and 1/8-teaspoon of pepper to the mix, stirred it all together, and cooked it for several minutes until it was bubbly. Then I added the two-cups of milk and two-cups of grated cheddar cheese to the mix. I stirred this constantly until it came to a boil and boiled for one minute.

I poured the cheese sauce over the potatoes and popped the casserole dish into the oven for and hour and twenty minutes. It was finally a nice day so I went out and mowed the lawn. When I finished with the lawn it was time to take the potatoes out of the oven and mix the 1/4-cup of fine bread crumbs with the last cup of grated cheese. Once I had a good mix, I spread the cheese/breadcrumb mixture over the top of the potatoes and put the potatoes back into the oven for another twenty minutes.

While the potatoes finished cooking, I went out and grilled some nice steaks. We also had broccoli steaming and my wife was cutting some fresh vegetables to go with dinner.

I took that potatoes out at the end of their allotted time, but my wife told me to check them to make sure they were fully cooked (because I cut them so thick) – they were not completely cooked, so back into the oven they went until the steak was ready and everything else was on the table.

We enjoyed the meal of grilled steak, au gratin potatoes, broccoli, and fresh vegetables. The potatoes were cooked all the way through, but I told my wife that I may need to get an adjustable mandoline so that next time all the slices are the same thickness. She said maybe for father’s day…

Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell

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