Potato Gratin with Jalapeno

2016-02-05 12.37.05RECIPE #190, DAY #222

ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Potato Gratin with Jalapeno,” by igbystooge on AllRecipes.com*

TIMING: 1 hour, 30 minutes

DIFFICULTY: Easy enough

TOOLS: Nothing special, but a mandolin would make this reach its full potential

COOK TYPE: Oven

HEALTH: This dish is especially rich. It is also full of carbs, but, quite frankly, I do not approve of low-carb diets. I believe in eating a variety of natural, homemade, healthful foods in moderation. Still, this is an indulgence for a special winter dinner.

EXPERIENCE: I had some extra potatoes in the fridge and needed a side dish for a weeknight. This popped up on the spreadsheet, and while we had only made it once, we gave it a thumbs up.

I am going to guess that I did not splurge on Gruyere the last time I made this, because there was something about the Gruyere-jalapeno combination that didn’t work. Even just using all Gruyere for a gratin–say, without the jalapeno–would be a little too nutty and bitter. I suggest that you go with a cheddar, and a milder cheddar will melt better (although I almost always have extra sharp on hand). You can mix the cheddar with the Gruyere if you want, but while this dish is French in technique, the jalapeno takes it right out of Europe, so a combo with Jack or Queso would make more sense to me.

NOTES: Thank goodness; a gratin recipe that allows for plenty of time for the potatoes to cook and the liquid to absorb/evaporate! I can’t tell you how many times I have come across a potato recipe like this and the directions say, “Bake 30 minutes.” As if! This always results in a frustrated mom who was shooting for normal dinner and is now lining the kids up on the couch in their pjs to eat a hasty, steaming bowl of potatoes at bedtime.

The original called for cream, but I found it to actually be too rich.

The original also specified doing this in 4 layers, but my potatoes only made it through 3 layers. Use your noggin and you’ll go far.

The heat of this dish is going to depend on the heat of your jalapeno. You can use more or less jalapenos, and give them a taste when mincing to know their heat.

***

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  2. Peel and thin-slice 2 pounds potatoes. I prefer Yukon Gold, but Russets would work. A mandolin would be best to do this slicing. Work quickly or place potato slices in acidulated water, then dry later.
  3. In your buttered casserole, place 1 layer of potatoes. Top with 1 cup grated cheddar cheese and sprinkle with 1 minced jalapeno and salt and pepper to taste. Repeat for second layer, with potatoes, 1 minced jalapeno, salt and pepper, and 1 cup cheese.
  4. Top casserole off with a final layer of potatoes, then pour over 2 cups half and half. Sprinkle evenly with 1 teaspoon paprika.
  5. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until browned and somewhat dry, and the potatoes are very tender. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with a lean, roasted meat, like chicken or pork, and a veggie like carrots or squash.

*Recipe changed from the original.

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