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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Potato Gratin a la Flamande



Flemish cuisine has a split personality. It's part French and part Belgian. The food is delicious trencherman fare and the regional drink is beer. Parisian's cook with wine, the Flemish prefer beer. While the food of Flanders and Picardy lacks the finesse of other regions, it's not without sophistication and it's layered flavors are delicious. The bitter aftertaste that's ascribed to much of the regions cooking is really due to a poor choice of beer. In an effort to make a perfect carbonnarde, I've tested lots of beer. I discovered one that's perfect for cooking. It's O'Doul's Amber Non-Alcoholic Brew; it can be found everywhere for centimes on the dollar and, because it's non-alcoholic, it can be used by folks who might normally have to bypass a recipe because of its alcohol content. Beer is an important part of today's recipe. It adds a distinct flavor to the potatoes. I define a potato gratin as scalloped potatoes made without milk and I think I'm close to being correct. Today's potatoes are flavored with flat beer and a little butter, so we're going to call it a gratin. It's less rich and, I think more flavorful, than old-fashioned scalloped potatoes. Men love this.

Potato Gratin a la Flamande

Ingredients:
1 8-ounce yellow onion, halved, then finely sliced
1-1/2 pounds potatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup flat beer (i.e. O'Doul's Amber Non-Alcoholic Brew)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt
Black pepper, coarsely ground
Optional garnish: chopped parsley

Directions:
1) Preheat oven at 425F. Spray bottom and sides of a deep baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2) Alternate layers of onions and potatoes in casserole. First layer should be onions, last layer should be potatoes. Lightly salt and pepper layers as their built.
3) Combine beer and brown sugar in a small bowl. Pour over potatoes. Dot top of potatoes with butter.
4) Cover dish and place in oven. After 10 minutes reduce oven thermostat to 375 degrees F. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes longer. Remove cover, pour cream over potatoes and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes longer. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley if using. Yield: 4 servings.

I'm sending this entry to Cathy at Noble Pig for the May Potato Ho Down.

38 comments:

Stephanie ~ Angelic Accents said...

This looks so yummy! Potato dishes are like dessert for me! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog & I'm sure I'll be visiting you again often!

Stephanie
Angelic Accents

Mary said...

Stephanie, I'm so glad you stopped by. I do hope you'll visit often.

Martha said...

I've not made a potato dish with beer and will have to try this one. I do have fond memories of a day spent in Belgium.

Selba said...

A lovely dish. I should make it someday, thanks for sharing the recipe :)

Katy said...

I'm enamored with Flemish cooking, too, and a simple, tasty recipe like this is why.

This DOES look very good. I like the unusual addition of the beer. I certainly appreciate and welcome the recommendation of which beer to use because, you're right, it does make a huge difference in the final outcome.

I'm going to give this a try the next time we do a roast. It sounds too good to pass up.

Hootin' Anni said...

Once again, you have me drooling, and it's not even anywhere NEAR a mealtime here. Potatoes, cheese....can't go wrong with that dish if you ask me.

Well, let's face it. FOOD, period.

I have an award for you on my blog today. Come on by.

Ning said...

I love cooking with beer, so I am sure to love this! If only I can find non-alcoholic beer...

Donna-FFW said...

Love potato dishes like these, my husband would love the fact it has a beer in it;)

This looks like something I would definitely put on our table.

CailinMarie said...

this does sound yummy... I find I rather like things cooked with beer in the recipe

Cindy Khor said...

looks really good... do you think if i omit the beer, will there be any difference??

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Great potato gratin. I've never made it with beer but it sounds like a good idea. I frequently use beef broth in lieu of cream.
Now I'm craving a potato gratin and beef carbonade.
Sam

Penny said...

Love this take on potatoes. Will definitely try it.

Mary said...

Cailin, a warm welcome to One Perfect Bite. I hope you'll come often.

Mary said...

Cindy, you can use a good beef or chicken stock to replace the beer. The dish then becomes standard potatoes gratin.

Netts Nook said...

Mary Those potatoes look great. I like the fact that it does not have a lot of cream but enough to add the richness.
Perfect.

Pam said...

Does it get much better than this? So creamy and delicious.

Libby Murphy said...

Oh gosh, who wouldn't want a bite of that! It looks and sounds wonderful. I'm made similar without the beer so now I'll try this version.
Thanks and Happy Twirls

Karen said...

I love potato casseroles and this one looks beautiful and sounds delicious!

Cathy said...

I've never made a potato dish with beer but I love both French and Belgiun food so will give it a go. Do you use any particular potato, Mary? Russett or reds? Does it matter?

Mary said...

Cathy, to be honest I use what I have on hand and that almost always is a russet. Strictly speaking, which I rarely do :), a waxy potato should be used. I just don't think they absorb as much liquid as the bakers and I don't like a gratin with a lot of excess liquid. My choice, and again I emphasize it's not the correct one, is the russet because it's like a sponge.

girlichef said...

These sound like they have wonderful flavor! It must have been rough...all that taste testing you had to do. If you ever need help with that kind of thing, just let me know ;)
...Oh, and you know, the habanero in that dish doesn't really make it that hot (unless you leave in the seeds & veins)..honest.

oneshotbeyond said...

one of my favorite ways to enjoy potatoes!

Mary said...

girlichef, it was really tough work but I owed to my art :).

The Blonde Duck said...

I LOVE potato gratin!

Natashya said...

Yum! I love a good spud dish, never had anything like this before.
A comedian once said.. "non-alcoholic beer is for when you don't want a nice buzz getting in the way of peeing all night".

I love the fact that you applied yourself to trying all different kinds of beer - such a self-sacrificing scientist in the kitchen!

the ungourmet said...

This looks terrific! The idea of the non-alcoholic beer is a great one!

Come on over for cupcakes anytime! :0)

Kathy said...

This looks and sounds delicious!!! Can't wait to try it!

Bridgett said...

Oh my, this is pure heaven right here!

Charlene said...

Yum! I am going to try this one! Good flavor & less calories is a good thing! Thanks for sharing.

Sunshine Mom said...

My mouth is watering! YUM!!

LilSis said...

I must confess...I like beer, too and have never tried it in a potato dish. These look great and I will try this recipe! Thanks!

Mary said...

Lilsis, I'm glad you found us. I hope you'll come back often.

Mags said...

Any recipe (but especially a potato recipe) that incorporates beer immediately gets my interest. Your taters look scrumptious!

Mary said...

Hi MAgs, I'm glad you found us! I do hope you'll visit often.

lisaiscooking said...

I'm finally going through the ho down list. Your gratin looks great! Interesting info about cooking with beer, and it sounds delicious.

bigsis said...

I agree with the other comments...cooking potatoes with beer? How bad could that possibly be? Thanks for this scrumptious dish!

Snooty Primadona said...

Yummy! I wish I wasn't such a slut for potatoes, but I am. I just want to dive into this and eat the whole thing!

angela@spinachtiger said...

Potatoes are my favorite comfort food. This is elegant comfort food. I'll love potatoes like these forever.

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