This potato bake is one of my favorite recipes!! Looking around online, I found a lot recipes for au gratin potatoes that called for gobs of cheese, cream, butter, and salt. Putting calories aside, most sound pretty darn bland. Here’s a good tip, if a recipe calls for salt and not pepper, no other herbs or seasonings, or only one clove of garlic that will not be served raw, then there’s a good chance that recipe will not be as delicious as it boasts. A large part of tasting is through smell, and aromatics can make or break a dish.
This au gratin recipe is not only packed with flavor, but vegetables as well. It makes a great winter dish that’s warm and filling.
Au Gratin Potatoes with Caramelized Onions:
- Large saute pan, wooden spoon or silicon spatula, deep casserole baking dish (with a lid if you’ve got one, otherwise use aluminum foil), measuring spoons, knife, cutting board, cheese grater, 1 large and 1 medium bowl
- 8 red potatoes, cut into 1/4″ slices (Yukon Golds work well too)
- 2 cups of Muenster cheese, grated
- 6 oz. spinach
- 8 large button mushrooms, sliced
- 3 onions, cut into 1/4″ slices
- 6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- The florets from one small head of broccoli (stems removed or thoroughly scored)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup margarine or butter
- 2 cups chicken stock, divided
- 3 Tbsp AP flour
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- A dash (1/8 tsp) dried parsley
- 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt, divided; 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1) Prepare all of the ingredients ahead of time. Add the raw potatoes and spinach to the large bowl, making sure they’re mingling and that not all the potatoes are on the bottom and spinach on the top and then set aside. Over Medium heat, melt the margarine in the large saucepan. Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 tsp of salt, and continue to stir and saute the onions until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
2) Preheat the oven to 400 F. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and broccoli to the caramelized onions in that order. Add the rest of the salt, the pepper, the dried parsley and the dried basil. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes until the mushrooms are just beginning to shrink down. Stir in 1 cup of the chicken stock, and once the chicken stock starts to bubble, stir in the flour 1 Tbsp at a time (you won’t need a whisk, it’ll make a paste around the veggies). Let the mixture thicken and cook for 2 minutes before adding the other cup of chicken stock and the cream.
3) As soon as you add the cream, reduce the heat to Med Low. Scrape up the bits on the bottom of the pan with the spoon, and heat the mixture until the broth starts to bubble, about 1 min. Carefully taste for seasoning (don’t burn yourself! It’s HOT!!) and then stir in all but 1/4 cup of the Muenster cheese.
4) Once the cheese is melted and well incorporated, spoon a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce onto the bottom of the casserole dish, and spread it around to coat the bottom of the dish. Add half of the potatoes and spinach to the casserole dish, then cover them with 1/2 the sauce. Stir around to make sure everyone’s well coated in the sauce. Add the other half of the potatoes and spinach, then pour the rest of the sauce on top. Stir to make sure everyone’s well coated.
5) Cover with the lid or tightly wrapped aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 60 mins (my lid is glass and therefore, insulated. This initial cook time may need to be reduced to 35-40 mins if you’re only using the aluminum foil). Remove from the oven and take off the cover. Sprinkle on the remaining Muenster and bake, uncovered, for another 20 mins.
6) Remove from the oven and let stand at least 10 mins before serving.
What to Drink? Hot Chocolate