Sunday, February 12, 2012

Four Cheese Au Gratin Potatoes

Is there anything that screams "comfort food" more than potatoes baked with creamy sauce and cheese? These were inspired by an anniversary dinner at the III Forks steakhouse at the Village of Gulfstream Park. Their Six Cheese Potatoes are amazing! I wanted to try to make something similar and couldn't find a single recipe with more than cheddar OR Swiss, with maybe some Parmesan thrown in. The menu doesn't detail what the six cheese are, so I guessed and adapted based on what I know JC will like (no blue cheese, for starters!). I didn't end up with six cheeses, but these were LOADED with cheesy goodness, flavor and I managed to reduce the fat of most recipes by swapping fat-free half-and-half for heavy cream, skim milk for 2% and using reduced fat cheeses. Trying to go for that steakhouse experience, I served these with NY Strip steaks and spinach sauteed with garlic and olive oil, but they'd be great with meatloaf, pork roast, baked chicken - anything that Grandma would have made.

The proportions below are for a 9 x 13 pan. Cut them in half to make an 8 x 8 pan full.
  • 6-7 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed well (I didn't peel mine, but do it if you want to) 
  • 2 cups fat-free half-and-half
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced finely
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced yellow onion (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 container light onion and chive cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar-jack cheese blend 
  •  2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Paprika and/or parsley flakes, optional 
Heat oven to 375. Butter a glass pan with the two tablespoons butter. Slice potatoes into roughly 1/4 inch thick slices. (Don't worry about being perfect!)

In a bowl, combine half-and-half, milk, flour, garlic, onion, Parmesan cheese and white pepper.Whisk well to blend.

Layer half of the potatoes in the pan. Sprinkle with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Dot with half the cream cheese. Cover with half of the milk mixture. Sprinkle with half the shredded cheeses. Top with the rest of the potatoes, salted and peppered lightly, the cream cheese and the milk mixture. Reserve the rest of the shredded cheese. Cover tightly with foil and bake covered for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, reduce heat to 350.  Remove the foil, stir VERY  carefully to make sure top layer of potatoes is covered in sauce, and bake another 20 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese and any parsley or paprika you want for color. Bake 10-20 minutes or until cheese is as done as you like it. If you like your cheese really browned, turn the broiler on for a couple of minutes.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Sounds great - thanks