Friday, January 04, 2013

Three Cheese Potato Bake

In 1998 my friend Sophie came to visit from France. It was the second time we met face to face, having been penpals since we were high school kids.

Sophie came armed with a swathe of genuine French recipes, which we attempted to cook for a dinner at my mother's house. While Potatoes Au Gratin had been served in our home before, the recipe we'd used was not like Sophie's. Hers was based on beef stock and creme fraiche, which unfortunately was unknown in Australia at that time (or at least in Penrith). It also had bacon interspersed through the layers of potato, and if I remember correctly, needed topping up with more creamy stock as the potatoes cooked.

My mother and I messed with Sophie's recipe so much, I don't think it resembled the French version much at all. And don't even get me started on the disaster of a cherry clafoutis, which we had no idea how to handle! It turned out rubbery and we could tell by the look on Sophie's face that it wasn't right. Needless to say cherry clafoutis is now produced by every would be Masterchef who is trying to impress which I simply cannot understand.

Potatoes au gratin is very common in Australia these days but has degenerated into "potato bake". Not very glamorous! When it's cooked with respect to French tradition it can be heavenly, but thanks to the cream in it, one serving always fills me with guilt. So I've developed this recipe which is light on fat but plentiful on cheese. I hope you like it.

6 medium waxy potatoes
1 chicken stock cube made into 2/3 cup of stock
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup grated mozarella
1 tblsp parmesan cheese
1 tblsp grate tastey cheese

1. Slice the potatoes thinly on the mandolin (or with a knife).
2. Arrange in a loaf sized baking dish. I put the potatoes on their side for a pretty effect.
3. Pour the milky stock over the potatoes, leaving the edges of the potatoes peeping above the fluid.
4. Sprinkle the cheeses over the potatoes.
5. Bake in an oven preheated to 180 degree celcius for one hour.
6. Allow to stand for 10 minnutes before serving.

Serves six.

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