Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Potatoes in Bechamel Sauce

When I lived on my own and wanted to make potatoes as a side dish, I'd break out a box of Betty Crocker's either Scalloped Potatoes or Potatoes Au Gratin.  These boxes come with the powdered sauce and dried out potatoes (yum, right??).  As I've become a better cook, I've been trying to cut out processed foods, especially dehydrated veggies that come in boxes.  When I was having friends over and opted to make a fish dinner, I knew I wanted to make potatoes as a side, so I looked through The Silver Spoon cookbook and found this recipe for potatoes in bechamel sauce.

I've never made bechamel sauce, so I was intrigued by this.  I knew that I wanted to make these potatoes.  They were pretty easy to make, too.  I think that next time I want a side of potatoes and not just roasted ones, then I would make these (as long as I have plenty of cooking time).  And they came out pretty delicious, as well!

Bechamel Sauce (from The Silver Spoon)

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups milk 
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional ***I did use nutmeg)

- Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.  Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the flour to make a smooth paste.
- Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in all the milk, making sure the sauce is smooth between each addition.
- Return the pan to the heat and cook over medium-high heat, stirring continuously until it starts to boil.  Season with salt, lower the heat, cover and summer gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes.  The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and not run off.
- Remove the pan from the heat.  Taste, add more salt, if necessary, and season with pepper and/or nutmegBechamel sauce should not taste floury.
- If the sauce is too thick, ad a little more milk.  If too runny, boil for a little longer.

**For a richer sauce, replace half the milk with the same amount of heavy cream.  For a lighter sauce, add half milk and half water.

Potatoes in Bechamel Sauce (from The Silver Spoon)

2 1/4 lbs potatoes
2 tbsp butter, melted, plus extra for greasing 
scant 1/2 cup of light cream
1 quantity of Bechamel Sauce (recipe above)
2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

- Cook the whole, unpeeled potatoes in plenty of salted water for 45 min, then drain, peel, and slice.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Grease an ovenproof dish with butter, arrange the potato slices, slightly overlapping, in it, and season with salt and pepper.
- Stir the cream into the bechamel sauce and pour the mixture over the potatoes to cover.  Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and melted butter.
- Bake until golden brown and bubbling, then serve.

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