In winter, there is something so comforting about, well, comfort foods.
 
 
Last week, my husband was getting over a cold. Coincidentally I had just found the first cheddar cheese here in France, so I decided to make some good old fashioned mac and cheese like my grandma used to make. I served it up with green beans roasted in a little bit of olive oil and garlic salt. The next day, my husband was feeling great! He attributes this healing to the mac and cheese. He said he now wants to eat only mac and cheese and green beans – this “healing food” when he has a cold. (Possibly faulty logic, but who knows).
 
Another dish along the lines of winter comfort food that I recently learned to make is a type of scalloped potatoes called “Gratin Dauphinois.” The first time I heard it said though, I mis-heard it as “Gratin de Fenouils,” which would translate as scalloped fennel. That sounds pretty tasty, but there is no fennel in this recipe. It’s a regional specialty named after the southwestern alpine district where we live.
 
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Luc & Emilouille Peeling Potatoes
 
A few weeks ago, a friend taught me to make his Gratin Dauphinois recipe before one of our Christmas parties.
 
All you need is some well-washed potatoes, such as Yukon Golds, a good amount of butter, some milk, a little cream, some Emmental (or Swiss) cheese and a pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg.
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Wash, peel and slice the potatoes. I took the liberty of not peeling my potatoes the second time around to save time, but that’s not the true French way of doing it. I also chopped my potatoes in the food processor. It takes like 30 seconds, versus about 10-15 minutes if you’re peeling and chopping potatoes by hand.
 
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In a large non-stick pot, melt and brown the butter with garlic until it smells nutty – it shouldn’t be burned, but you’ll know when it smells right.
 
Add the milk, cream, salt pepper and nutmeg.
 
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Add the potatoes and cook until potatoes are soft (about 30-35 minutes), being careful not to burn the potatoes. The potatoes should be thoroughly coated with the milk mixture, but they shouldn’t be swimming in milk.
 
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Spread a thin layer of the potato mixture on the pan, followed by cream and then cheese. Repeat until the pan is full.
 
Bake at 300 degrees for 30-35 minutes until the cheese begins to turn golden brown.
 
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Serve and enjoy!
 

 

Gratin Dauphinois (Scalloped Potatoes)
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2.5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 6-7 medium)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic or 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cups gruyere cheese (optional - many French cooks omit this!)
Instructions
  1. Wash, peel and slice the potatoes. I took the liberty of not peeling my potatoes the second time around to save time, but that's not the true French way of doing it. I also chopped my potatoes in the food processor. It takes like 30 seconds, versus about 10-15 minutes if you're peeling and chopping potatoes by hand.
  2. In a large non-stick pot, melt and brown the butter with garlic until it smells nutty - it shouldn't be burned, but you'll know when it smells right.
  3. Add the milk, cream, salt pepper and nutmeg.
  4. Add the potatoes and cook until potatoes are soft (about 45-50 minutes), being careful not to burn the potatoes. The potatoes should be thoroughly coated with the milk mixture, but they shouldn't be swimming in milk.
  5. Spread a thin layer of the potato mixture into a serving pan, such as a 7x11 or 9x13 casserole pan. Drizzle with cream and the sprinkled with cheese. Repeat until the pan is full.
  6. Bake at 300 degrees for 35-40 minutes until the cheese begins to turn golden brown.
  7. Serve and enjoy!