Potatoes au gratin is layers of thinly sliced spuds collectively with a creamy sauce and melted cheese. A wealthy bechamel sauce that is thickened with a roux is spread in between the potatoes which creates a luxurious texture. This casserole recipe is baked until hot, bubbly, and the cheese is golden brown. It’s the potato version of macaroni and cheese that disappears rapidly the second it’s served!
Cheesy potatoes au gratin is a classic side dish that’s simple to put together and is always a crowd pleaser. Except if the cream curdles or the potatoes aren’t fork-tender soon after baking, but with the proper guidance, I’m going to demonstrate you how these common issues can be effortlessly averted.
This recipe utilizes several layers of quite thinly sliced Yukon gold potatoes topped with a roux-based sauce to stabilize the milk in the dish. Aged sharp cheddar and buttery gruyere cheese mix together in the sauce and get sprinkled on the potatoes. It’s a comforting dish that can be ready ahead of time and loved later.
What’s the Variation Between Scalloped Potatoes and Au Gratin Potatoes?
Scalloped potatoes are typically reduce into thicker rounds, about -inch, layered and baked in a casserole dish. Cream, milk (or the two) are added, along with some aromatics like garlic, onions, and herbs. Au gratin potatoes, on the other hand, are thinner, about -inch thick pieces and cheese is added to the recipe. You may possibly also occasionally see breadcrumbs sprinkled on best for added crunch. The culinary terms are frequently utilized interchangeably which triggers a bit of confusion.
How to Make Au Gratin Sauce
The simple approach used to produce a milk sauce is making use of a thickening agent, like a roux. This recipe employs equal parts by volume of butter and flour which cooks into a paste, then slowly incorporating milk while simmering until finally the thickness can nicely coat a spoon. The consequence is a bechamel with cheese whisked in. This is approach is also utilized in macaroni and cheese, but we’re making use of potatoes rather of pasta. If created correctly, the sauce need to spread very easily amongst the potato layers as an alternative of pooling at the bottom of the baking dish.
How to Prevent the Sauce From Curdling
If you only include milk to the potatoes, the proteins are at risk for curdling more than time. As soon as the protein hits a temperature of 180F and above they commence clumping collectively. That’s why recipes often use milk AND cream because the increased volume of body fat helps reduce curdling given that there’s less protein. Considering the potatoes are cooked at 400F for virtually an hour to tenderize, it’s greatest to develop in a minor security cushion with a roux. The creamy texture added to the sauce is just a tasty bonus!
The Very best Potatoes to Use for Au Gratin
Select a medium-sized waxy sort of potato like Yukon gold or gold for au gratin. As soon as cooked the flesh has a wonderful buttery texture, but it holds its form effectively when scooping out every serving. Russets are my second decision since, with their delicate texture, they tend to absorb the sauce and turn out to be too creamy. I desire to use Russet potatoes for mashed potatoes alternatively.
The best mixture of cheese to use for the au gratin potatoes is gruyere and sharp cheddar. Gruyere is a medium-hard cheese that has a nutty taste and hint of sweetness. It has superb melting properties, and I usually use it when generating French onion soup. Sharp cheddar has a more powerful aged flavor and a semi-challenging texture. Collectively they melt effortlessly in the bechamel sauce and produce a good gooey, browned crust on best of the potatoes.
Essential Ideas for Making Potatoes Au Gratin
- Peel and slice the potatoes into -inch thick pieces for even cooking. I suggest employing a mandoline.
- Overlap half the potatoes to create a base, spread the sauce, cheese, and repeat.
- Infuse more flavor by incorporating gruyere and cheddar cheese into the sauce, and sprinkling further between the layers.
- Cover the baking dish with foil to help gently cook the potatoes.
- Finish cooking the potatoes uncovered to produce a melty, golden cheese crust.
Use a large serving spoon to dig into the layers of the cheesy potatoes. Every bite melts in your mouth, and the flavors of the garlic and nutmeg infuse into each and every piece. This side dish can be assembled ahead of time and then baked right before serving. My loved ones also loved leftovers of the potatoes and it still tasted delicious warmed up!
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Starches Help to Stabilize the Cream Sauce
The all-natural starches in flour support to stabilize the milk emulsion in the sauce, preventing the separation of the oils and body fat. When the starches are heated, they’re ready to hold onto some of the water in the milk, swell, and produce a viscous mixture. By incorporating a roux into a dairy-primarily based sauce will thicken and keep creamy once baked in the oven.