A Classic With a Twist……
Well, I’m getting started a little bit late today. I did something that I have never done before on a weekday, or a weekend for that matter. The kids have been crazy hyper so I thought maybe they needed some extra mom time. I sat and watched 3 cartoon movies with them over the course of the day, and cuddled with the littlest at nap time. (Ok, so I may have caught a wink or two. Something else I never do, but I may have to change my mind. 😉 ) I guess it was kind of a mini vacation on a very unspring like day that involved just never leaving the couch, except to pop some popcorn after their nap of course.
For dinner last night I cooked hamburger steaks with corn and au gratin potatoes. I found a recipe by Betty Crocker almost two years ago and over the course of time I have made it my own. I like to make more 1-2 serving sides when I make them so I busted out one of my favorite kitchen dishes, my 10-ounce ramekin. You can make this as either a 1 or 2 serving side. I generally eat half of one, while I serve my husband a whole ramekin. Let me warn you ahead of time if you serve these potatoes in the actual ramekin that they stay hot forever! So while the presentation in the ramekin is gorgeous whoever is eating them will have to wait a long time for them to cool. If you are serving them straight out of the oven, after allowing them to set for about 5-10 minutes, you’ll want to scoop them out on their plate, or a serving dish so they can cool in time with the other food that you are serving.
Au gratin potatoes are a classic side dish that dates way back and originated in France. Once they hit America they were a delicious treat that graced many tables. While scalloped potatoes were probably more common because they didn’t contain cheese, the cheese laden side dish was most likely viewed as a special treat. I know that my mom made scalloped potatoes quite often when I was growing up with onions and ham, and that is one of my absolute favorite dishes. But au gratin potatoes are in a classification all by themselves. They fall into a little fancier category and have slightly less of a casserole feel in my opinion.
One of the best things about this recipe, besides the fact that it is just packed with gooey, cheesy goodness, is the fact that they are easy to make. Once you slice your potatoes, and make the cheese sauce (about 10 minutes), the other 30 minutes they are in the oven doing their thing, cooking up to a beautiful, bubbly brown color. *The cheese sauce can be fickle sometimes. Not that it ever turns out bad, but for some reason it thickens more than others. So, don’t be afraid to add a little more milk if it is a bit too thick. It really doesn’t melt in the oven very much so you want it to be the proper consistency when you put it in, but beware if it is runny, it won’t thicken up, you’ll essentially have cheesy potato soup. 😉 This is one of our favorites, and I hope that you enjoy it too. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!
Do you prefer Au gratin or scalloped potatoes?
Jalapeño Au Gratin Potatoes
By Angie Gouchenour
1 – 5 ounce russet potato with skin – sliced thin
1 Tablespoon salted butter
1 Tablespoon flour
¼ cup + 1 tsp milk – I’ve used whole, 2%, and 1% (*You may need 1-2 Tablespoons extra)
Dash of black pepper
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon chopped jarred jalapeños
Preheat oven to 375’f
Wash and thinly slice the potato and set aside
In a small pan melt the butter over medium heat, once the butter is melted remove from heat and stir in the flour making a roux
Pour in the milk a little at a time until there aren’t any clumps
Return to the heat and bring to a boil, add the cheese and stir until melted (If it is too thick add a little bit of milk to thin it out)
Place 1/3 of the sliced potatoes in the bottom of the ramekin and top with 1/3 of the cheese sauce, repeat two more times (You may have 1 or 2 slices left over) Sprinkle final layer of cheese with chopped jalapeños
Set the ramekin on a cookie sheet and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes until brown and bubbly
Before removing the potatoes pierce them with a fork to make sure they are tender. If not give them 5-10 more minutes
Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes after removing them from the oven before serving
534 calories for entire 10-ounce ramekin
Modified from Betty Crocker