Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fantabulous Food! Pommes De Terre à la Boulangère

I was really feeling sick so I ended up calling out of work one day and unfortunately there is not much to watch on television during the day. I was browsing through the channels and saw that a Julia Child episode was on, but it was only the last 5 minutes. Immediately after her show was French Food at Home with Laura Calder. As a French food addict, I was very interested in her “slow cooking” episode and  I saw these potatoes on the show. Moral of the story: Never watch the cooking channel when you are sick unless you want to be suddenly hit with the cooking bug.

Pommes De Terre à la Boulangère
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil or butter
4 onions, sliced
2 pounds potatoes, sliced
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Fresh thyme sprigs
2 cups beef stock
minced garlic

1. Preheat oven to 300º F.
2. Slice your onions to be sautéed in the olive oil or butter - gently fry until onions are lightly golden and soft (about 15 minutes). I personally am not an onion fan, so I omitted this step. Instead, I melted my butter in the pan in the oven.
3. Spread half of the onions in the bottom of a casserole dish if you use them. 
4. Now, we need to do the potatoes. I decided to use red potatoes with the skins on, so I made sure to scrub them really good with a vegetable brush.
Then I take a sharp knife and cut any eyes or blemishes off. 
Then I sliced them - the thickness is up to you. I went with a medium thickness.
Slice all of them about the same.
5. Now we need to mince the garlic. If you have never used fresh garlic before, I am here to tell you it really is a cinch. First, pull one or two cloves off the main piece of garlic.
Now, using a knife with a wide blade and a cutting board, lay the knife on top of one of the garlic cloves and hit the side of the knife hard with your palm to smash it down. 
This will crack open the outer skin so it comes off easily. 
Now just carefully mince it up. It is a bit of a pain because it will stick to your knife at first, but you soon get the hang of it.
After I minced my garlic, I took my pan with melted butter out of the oven
And put about half of the minced garlic in the bottom.
6. Now we just need to assemble. If you used onions, put half of them in the bottom of the casserole, then layer potatoes on top.
Once you've made a full layer (about 2 half of your potatoes), season with pepper, thyme, salt and the rest of your minced garlic.
Now use the rest of your potatoes to make one more layer the same way: onions, potatoes, seasonings.
7. Next, pour your beef broth in along the side of the dish.
Pouring along the side will keep the spices still on top of your potato layer. You want the broth to come up the side to where you can see it, but not cover the potatoes.
P.S. I used too much broth. It should not have that much liquid in yours.
8. Now put your casserole uncovered in the center of your oven and leave it alone for at least 2 hours. I ended up cooking mine for a little over 3 hours, but that's because I used too much broth. If you use the right amount of liquid, it should be mostly soaked up after about 2 hours.
9. When your liquid is mostly soaked up and your potatoes are soft, your dish is done and ready to serve :)
MMmmmm... doesn't that look delicious?
This would be a great side dish for a roast of some kind - but it's also pretty jammin just by itself. (Hey, I didn't feel well, I was perfectly happy just to have some delicious potatoes) :)
Thank you Laura Calder for giving me a delicious french dish that I could cook even when I was sick! Thinking about it makes me want to call out from work :)

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