Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Really, the things potatoes have to suffer. We just love adding fat to them, don't we?
Butter, cream, oil, a Noah's ark worth of animal fats. Did I mention butter?
You know, the thing is, potatoes adore fat and the payoff is wonderful flavour, never mind the expanding waistline. Does a person exist who can resist the luscious creaminess of dauphinoise potatoes or the crispy crunch of a roast spud cooked in goose fat?
But there is another way with them that is reasonably low in fat and has tons of flavour, boulangere potatoes, simply, potatoes cooked in stock.
Boulangere, a French word, refers to dishes cooked in the leftover heat of the baker's oven after the bread was done and is a relic of a long bygone age when fuel was an especially expensive commodity.
The classic way is to layer potatoes and onions in a gratin dish and cook them with some chicken stock, but there is room for variation, this is one treatment that has been well received.
10g dried porcini
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
6 to 8 potatoes, depending on size
fresh thyme leaves, removed from stalk
salt and fresh ground pepper
Soak the dried porcini in hot chicken or vegetable stock for 30 minutes. Strain and save the porcini for another dish.
Peel the potatoes and slice thinly on a mandolin or with a knife. Place a layer of potatoes in a gratin dish, sprinkle with some finely grated provolone and a few thyme leaves, season with salt and fresh ground pepper then repeat the layers until all the potato is used up. Pour over the chicken or vegetable stock flavoured with porcini until just under the top layer.
Bake in a 200c oven for about one hour, or until the potato is cooked and well browned. Leave to rest for 5 minutes, then serve.