After a very difficult week, sometimes you have to take a moment for yourself. For me, this weekend, that included buying myself flowers, taking a nice walk through my neighborhood and making some good ol’ fashioned comfort food.
*Fun fact: Someone not too far from my apartment is raising chickens in their front yard…chickens in Bed-Stuy y’all, who would have guessed?
Comfort food-wise, I decided to make roast chicken and potatoes au gratin. Really, there’s nothing better than creamy, cheesy potatoes when you’re feeling down.
For those culinary “nerds” out there, a gratin is any dish that is topped with cheese or breadcrumbs mixed with bits of butter, then heated in the oven or under the broiler until brown and crispy. The terms au gratin or gratinee refers to any dish prepared in such a manner.
Furthermore, potatoes in this dish are thinly sliced… most successfully achieved by using a mandolin.
I can’t tell you how many times I find an awesome recipe that calls for “thinly sliced potatoes” and I curse myself for not owning a mandolin… well, no more! No more, because now I own a mandolin.
And because now I own a mandolin, I must actually use said mandolin (more than its inaugural use!).
Hence, this recipe today.
I found this recipe from a New York Times article around Thanksgiving… but, honestly I can’t tell you anymore than that because I can’t view it (silly 10 free NYT articles a month! grrr). But anyway, I had saved a bunch of recipes from it and have been looking forward to trying this one ever since.
Potatoes au Gratin
Adapted from NYTimes
3 medium russet potatos
3 tbsp butter
¾ cup cream or milk, approximately
1/2 cup gruyere (I found a gruyere/cheddar blend, which worked out perfectly)
Thinly slice potatoes and layer in a nonstick skillet.
Dot with butter and add enough half-and-half or milk to come three-quarters of the way to the top of the potatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer until liquid reduces a bit, about 10 minutes.
Top with cheese and transfer to a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes until just brown. Reduce to 300 degrees and cook until tender, 10 to 20 minutes more.
I do wish it was more browned on top – but it was delicious nonetheless.
I decided to pair this dish with roasted chicken.
Confession: I don’t make chicken that often at home and I honestly never thought it was this easy for some reason! Not going to lie, I referenced this great CHOW article (I know… I probably could make roast chicken in my sleep, but still have my culinary training wheels on… for some reason…).
I used a McCormick Recipe Inspiration Spice pack which included — 2 tsp paprika, 1½ crushed rosemary leaves, 1 tsp minced garlic, ½ coarse ground black pepper. I actually got a few of these spice mixes from a foodie penpal a few months ago (thank you Jenny!).
For the chicken, I coated the chicken with the spice mixture then seared them with a little olive oil in a frying pan. I then transferred them to a baking dish and baked them for 30 minutes at 425˚F.
And if I do say so myself, the chicken was perfect and with the potatoes, it was a wonderful meal. Pair that with a little Game of Thrones and Mad Men and you’ve got a good night.
- 3 medium russet potatos
- 3 tbsp butter
- ¾ cup cream or milk, approximately
- ½ cup gruyere (I found a gruyere/cheddar blend, which worked out perfectly)
- Thinly slice potatoes and layer in a nonstick skillet.
- Dot with butter and add enough half-and-half or milk to come three-quarters of the way to the top of the potatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer until liquid reduces a bit, about 10 minutes.
- Top with cheese and transfer to a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes until just brown. Reduce to 300 degrees and cook until tender, 10 to 20 minutes more.