Julia Child`s Gratin Savoyard My Way

This was seriously my favoritest of things to eat as a child. My mom often made the box gratin potatoes which she would kill me for actually saying. She fancies herself more Martha, but as a working mom, she sometimes strayed to the Sandra Lee territory while cooking during the week, at least when it came to the box potatoes gratin (I think she blocks ever making those out from her memory and I hardly blame her). But come holidays, and some Sundays, she would bust these out and ZOMFG, these were the best thing in the world.

So I asked her for the recipe some time back because, for some unknown reason I don`t own any of the books from the Mastering the Art of French Cooking series. I have bought these books as gifts for people, always bookmarking this recipe for the gift recipient, but have never purchased for myself. I even used to justify eating these as a teenager when I stopped eating the meat, despite the fact that they are to be made with beef stock. The are just that good. My recipe now, uses veg stock and they are still that good. So, yeah, I am straying from my menu planning, shocker! But this is worth the stray.

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What I used:

2 lbs of potatoes, I used yukon golds here, but reds work as so the standard russets that the recipe calls for

1 leek – this is my add on, it`s optional, but really, baked in cheese leeks? Yes please!

4 oz of swiss type cheese. I used Schaarf Max which is a bit more ass-y, I mean strong, here. An appelenzer, emmethal, grueyere, or the like will work. Don`t use a super aged gruyere though, it is tad to oily as I once learned. This just calls for swiss cheese. Take that to mean what you will. The idea behind the Mastering seriesis that it only used commonly available ingredients at the time. Times have changed. The husband wanted to use a whole half pound of cheese, and while that seems like a great idea, it is too much cheese and gets too oily. I know, too much cheese! But really it is. Just eat more cheese while you are shredding if you want more. That`s what I told him to do at least.

6 tablespoons unsalted cold butter. I use the Pamplie brand, which I highly reccommend. I also don`t really use this much butter. I use half, but do what you will.

1 cup boiling stock. It calls for beef stock, but I use veg and it is fine. Again, I think you can use whatever – veg, beef, chicken. I guess chicken sounds weird, but what do I know? I`m sure it`s fine.

1 garlic clove, cut in half

Black Pepper

Paprika

1 tablespoon of parmigiano-reggiano cheese. This is my add on as well.

What I did:

Preheat the oven to 425. Slice the potatoes in 1/8 inch rounds. I keep the skins on, cuz lazy is how I roll and nutrients are there or something! Mom peeled her potatoes and cut hers up in 1/4 inch squares. Whatevs. Clean and slice your leek, unless it already was prepped earlier this week like mine. Shred the cheese or make the husband do it. I did the latter.

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Stock is in a pan on boil. Rub the garlic halves all over the baking dish you are going to use. I used to not understand just rubbing garlic and not using it, but now realize that it actually does impart flavor. I use a pan that is stovetop safe and turn it on and melt around about a teaspoon of butter to coat the pan.

Start layering the potatoes around the pan. I do three layers. So layer just over 1/3 of the potatoes.
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Pepper them.

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Add half the leeks.

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Then add 1/3 of the cheese and crumble 1/3 of the butter over the top.

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Continue this again with your top layer being just potatoes, pepper, cheese and butter. I don’t salt this until after it cooks because every cheese is different and sometimes adds enough salt. I use a finishing sea salt on it after serving.

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Pour the boiling stock over the top.

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Sprinkle the parm, pepper and some smoked paprika on the top for color and flavor and cook in the oven for 40-45 min.

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Timers up. Check for doneness by sticking a fork in, if the potatoes are soft it’s done. If not, back in for 10. Top also needs to be crispy. Mine is done. And apparently blurry. Or maybe I am trembling with excitement.  The apartment smells like molten cheese!

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Slice it.

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Serve it with a salad cuz if you are me you are so excited you are an adult and can make this as a meal. You can also make this as a side for something. But it is so good you will want to eat it all by it self.

Plate it.

Eat it.

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