Monday, August 20, 2007

Glorious Potatoes

The weather was still chilly today. The sun came out but fall is definitely in the air. It was a good day to make chicken stock and to cook something in the oven. While in the Naramata area, I bought a cookbook called Menus from an Orchard Table. This book is written by Heidi Noble, from Joie Wines and Farm Cooking School. Heidi and her Husband, Michael Dinn are newly transplanted to the Okanagan, and have opened up a winery, and cooking school on a Naramata orchard property. This is a "must do" for my next trip to the area. For now, I am enjoying their story and Heidi's book and will make sure that I cook my way through many of the menus.

One recipe that caught my eye today was a Potato, Chevre and Thyme Gratin. It was, as they say "a keeper", and I can think of so many dishes that would go well with these potatoes. Following is an adapted recipe.

Goat Cheese and Thyme Potatoes

Serves 4

1 cup whipping cream
1 large clove garlic smashed
1 bay leaf
4 stems of fresh thyme
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 small chub of soft goat cheese
5 Yellow fleshed Potatoes, peeled.

Heat up the whipping cream with the bay leaf, smashed garlic clove and the thyme sprigs until just boiling. Remove from heat. Let infuse for 15 minutes while you prepare the potatoes. Remove the bay leaf, thyme sprigs and garlic. Add the goat cheese and stir. Let the goat cheese warm up in the cream, and then whisk until smooth. Using a mandoline or food processor, slice the potatoes thinly. It is important that the potatoes are uniform in thickness, as this will ensure that they cook evenly.

Layer the potatoes in a baking dish (9 X 9) . Salt and pepper this layer. After 1 layer, pour over 1/3 of the cream mixture. Repeat for 3 layers, ending up with cream on top. I placed some fresh thyme on top. Cover the dish with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for about half an hour. Remove foil and press down the potatoes with the back of your spoon to release the starch into the cream. Do this a few times, while the potatoes are baking. The total cook time is about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Test with a sharp knife that the potatoes are tender. Turn on the broiler in your oven and let the potatoes brown on top. Let sit for a few minutes and then cut into squares and serve. This will go great with any grilled or roasted meats.

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