Scalloped Potatoes

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I've never made them, thinking of trying them tonight to accompany steak au poivre.  There is no shortage of recipes available that I'd like to try but was hoping to get some pointers or pitfalls.  My fear is that the sauce will break, or that the potatoes won't be cooked through. 
 

kuan

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Heck just jump to gratin dauphinois.  :)  Peel and slice potatoe.  Lightly salt and fill your baking dish.  Pour in cream until halfway up the dish.  Cover with foil and bake for 1.5hr at 375F. Remove foil occasionally to tamp down potatoes to check for doneness.  Once they are done you cover the top with mozarella cheese.  Turn oven up to 425F and allow it to brown.
 
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Both of those can happen, but even if the sauce breaks it's still tasty just doesn't look as good, skim off the oils. As far as not being cooked through the worst thing there is holding up dinner till they are cooked through. just be sure to slice the potatoes in even slices. have a recipe around here somewhere for a fancy version using pancetta and sunchokes (jeruselam artichokes) was more expensive but very tasty.
 
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If it's a gratin dauphinois, there's always some discussions on wether or not precook the potatoes and much worse, wether to put cheese in it. The original seems to be.. without cheese. As always, there are as many recipes as cooks.

I cut the potatoes on a mandoline in 3-4 mm thick slices. Do NOT rinse them, the starch has to stay on the slices. Cover with a 50/50 mixture of milk/cream + S&P+ 2 cloves of garlic + 1 bayleaf and precook them gently for a few minutes.

Butter an oventray and then fill first with the potatoe slices. Keep on making layers of potatoe, but sprinkle some nutmegg between them and some Gruyère if you like cheese in it (I don't). Add the milk/cream cooking mixture (with the garlic and bayleaf). You can sprinkle some extra gruyère on it. Put in an oven at 180°C until potatoes are soft and golden brown (40-50 minutes).

Notes;

- absolutely do NOT rinse the potato slices

- garlic, bayleaf and nutmegg are a must

- cheese is facultative

- precooking will guarantee a more even cooking in less time

- test by pushing the tip of a knife in the potatoes. When it isn't done and the top already browned, cover with a sheet of alumiunfoil.
 

phatch

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As I've never cooked this at "low altitude", maybe my experiences aren't helpful for most of you. But here at near 5000 feet, I break and curdle  scalloped/au gratin/dauphinois in many of their classic forms. My current theory on this is the lower boiling point means my liquid has been boiling for longer before the potatoes are cooked through than happens at lower altitudes.

For this reason, I've come to rely on a bechamel base for these dishes.

As that's not ideal I've adapted a few other techniques. I'll par cook the sliced potatoes in milk and or cream. This must never boil and should get no warmer than about 180 degrees F. Hold this for about 10 minutes and then proceed with the recipe as normal. Shaves some of the oven time and gives me more control over the potatoes and liquid. Also captures starch from the potatoes for thickening so I can reduce the amount of bechamel some.

The induction burner with a temp setting at 180 makes this very easy.

Phil
 
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I'm with ChirsBelgium on this one...pretty much. I use 1/2 & 1/2 and  heavy cream and don't parboil. Add a bit of fresh thyme and some well caramelized onion to the top.

Good luck!
 
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 Peeled potatoes, raw. Thinly sliced. Do not rinse or soak.

cold butter, small cubes.

seasoning... salt, pepper... whatever you want, really.

Some fresh herbs, finely chopped... I like thyme, personally.

some heavy cream.

I also like to use a little blue-veined cheese.

Grease some parchment paper with butter, place it, butter up in your pan.

Lay a layer of potatoes down, all nice and flat-like. Season, dot with butter, dot with cheese.

a couple more layers of potato

more seasoning, butter, cheese... continue until all used up.

Pour cream over top of potatoes, let it "sink in".

 Cover with more parchment and some weight... I use a pan (same size as the pan I am baking in) with a cast iron pan in that.

Bake at 350 for about an hour to an hour and a half.

turn out onto a cutting board and portion.

No curdling, no breaking.. and the end result is a beautiful golden crust and a tender, flavourful end product.
 
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Thank you for your suggestions I employed some of them last night and had great results.  I used a mandolin to cut my potatoes into even slices and put down one layer in a buttered casserole dish then sprinkled cheddar and parmesan.  Placed another layer of potatoes and cheese on top.  In a small saucepan I had simmered some heavy cream with minced garlic, dried thyme, a bay leaf and a little nutmeg then poured the mixtured over the the potatoes.  Baked in the oven covered with foil for about 50min then uncovered for another half hour or so.  They were perfect.
 

kcz

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How much cream/milk does everyone use?  Covering the potatoes, just so some is visible between the slices, even less?  I never get this part right.
 

phatch

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I usually do it that way KCZ, but it really comes down to how saucy you want your potatoes. Prairie Chef's version has very little sauce if any.
 
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Interesting this..

I see all of you are using cream and/or milk.

I do a scalloped potato with leek (or onion if I can't find leek), white wine, chicken stock, thyme and a little garlic and a bit of olive oil
 
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Interesting this..

I see all of you are using cream and/or milk.

I do a scalloped potato with leek (or onion if I can't find leek), white wine, chicken stock, thyme and a little garlic and a bit of olive oil
This is pommes boulangere as opposed to the milk/cream version pommes dauphinoise.
 
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Interesting this..

I see all of you are using cream and/or milk.

I do a scalloped potato with leek (or onion if I can't find leek), white wine, chicken stock, thyme and a little garlic and a bit of olive oil
This is pommes boulangere as opposed to the milk/cream version pommes dauphinoise.
It is indeed, and I prefer it to Dauphinoise. So does my heart!
 
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If your cream or milk breaks. Next time bring it to a boil first and add a small amount of corn starch slush. This helps to bind the butterfat into the cream and lets the mixture bake longer without separating or breaking
 

nicko

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I actually started using a technique I saw on America's Test Kitchen Koukouvagia. The easiest way to slice the potatoes is with the food processor (1/8 inch). In a large pot saute your aromatics (garlic, bay leaf, etc) then add your cream, chicken stock and potatoes. Cook them half way (about 10-15 min). Then put this into your baking dish add your cheese and bake at 425 until the edges are bubbling.  I have had great results with this. 

One pointer on the nutmeg. I agree it is a great addition but be cautious. It is one spice that if you put too much you wish you hadn't. It does add a wonderful flavor and aroma to the potatoes.
 
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Butzy, I use 1 cup of cream per 1.5lbs of potatoes.  Of course another contributing factor to this is how tall and wide your baking dish is.  I can just see the cream through the cracks in the potatoes. 

Nicko, I always get great results from the methods used in America's Test Kitchen.  I will try it.
 

nicko

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I had always done scalloped potatoes the traditional way but when I read about the "par-cook" technique with the potatoes it made sense to me. You develop the flavor just fine and you cut the cooking time way down.
 
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i like to use green chilies sometimes,especially when the hatch come into season, just to change it up a bit...

joey
 
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I had always done scalloped potatoes the traditional way but when I say the "par-cook" technique with the potatoes it made sense to me. You develop the flavor just fine and you cut the cooking time way down.
Exactly Nicko, but the main reason for precooking the potatoes is that they will come out more evenly cooked from the oven too. Most gratins dauphinois only done in the oven will produce some very well cooked slices and some undercooked.
 
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