Comfort food for chilly days
Award winning Chef-Patron Pascal Canevet’s delicious recipes to see you through a chilly spring.
There is nothing like a heart-warming dish to brighten midwinter and as I’m training for the marathon, and craving carbs, this week is all about a well-loved comfort food the humble potato.
I love that description, ‘comfort food’, and this recipe aims to bring you just that – comfort, warmth, and happiness – a little something to see you through these chilly, wet days.
Nationally loved this everyday staple has a broad range of flavours and textures, perfect for creamy mash, coveted roast potatoes, baked, simply boiled or for an indulgent Gratin Dauphinois. Show me a man that doesn’t love a good spud! Not that I would say this is a way to a mans heart, but from childhood I’ve loved the versatility of this root vegetable and this recipe is a long-standing family favourite; although no-one, to this day, can match my grandmothers!
The traditional recipe for Gratin Dauphinois is very simple; a combination of good waxy potatoes, cream, and garlic. I use locally grown Hall Farm potatoes, they have a slight nutty flavour and it feels good to know they are harvested in Bury St Edmunds. Maris Piper are also an excellent variety for this dish.
A delicious warming feast, Dauphinois recipes are handed down through generations in France. It’s quick, easy to prepare and has the most enticing mouth-watering aroma perfect for dinner parties and Sunday roasts. It’s a dish that can be prepared ahead, so its perfect for lazy Sundays and trust me, once tried will become a firm family favourite.
This wonderfully rich dish is an excellent partner to roast lamb, beef, and pork.
800g waxy potatoes, peeled and finely sliced (use a mandolin to slice them)
400ml whipping cream
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• Preheat the oven to 180C /gas mark 4
• Take a heavy-bottomed dish or an ovenproof gratin dish (a Le Creuset dish is ideal) and grease the base with butter.
• Wash and peel the potatoes, slice into 8cm discs and place in a saucepan of salted cold water with a knob of butter. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat, simmering until almost tender. Drain and set aside.
• Don’t wash the potato after slicing them as the starch will help thicken the cream sauce.
• Layer the potato slices in the ovenproof dish, slightly overlapping each other, seasoning each layer with salt and black pepper.
• Place the cream, garlic, and sprigs of thyme in a pan and bring them gently to the boil.
• Remove the thyme from the pan and pour the hot cream over the potatoes, covering them -the sauce will thicken whilst cooking.
• Bake the gratin for about 40 min or until the potatoes are golden brown and tender when probed with a sharp knife.
• Leave to stand for 5min before serving.
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