Some years ago when we visited one of my husband’s sisters, who lives in Indiana, she served us a potato casserole that our daughter fell in love with. She requested it often while she still lived at home, and even now and then when she visits.
A good family side-dish, but then I started thinking . . . it’s just the two of us at home now, and I’m not in any hurry to get dinner on the table. Plus I enjoy cooking, after a day spent staring at my computer screen. So I wondered: what if I deconstruct the recipe and make it high-end? Just a bit more elegant? So I gave it a try.
2 Tblsp butter
2 shallots, chopped
2 Tblsp flour
1 1/2 cups liquid: milk/cream and chicken stock, combined
5 oz. cheese, shredded (cheddar is simplest, but you can be creative or use whatever you have)
Salt and pepper to taste
Bread/panko crumbs for topping (about 1 cup?), plus additional butter if you want
You can shred the potatoes by hand or use the shredding blade of a food processor. The shreds should be fairly fine. The same for the cheese.
To make the sauce: melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat and saute the shallots until they are soft. Add the flour and mix, then let cook for a minute or so. Pour in the milk/cream combined with chicken stock, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth. Cook over low heat just until it begins to thicken.
|Shallots in butter|
|...with flour added...|
|and sauce, completed|
Bake for one hour in the preheated oven, until the crust is golden.
|Golden brown and crunchy!|
|And nice and creamy inside|
By the way, there's this new book coming out next Tuesday (along with a lot of other great ones, including some of my fellow authors here at MLK). There are potatoes in this dish, so I guess that qualifies it as an Irish recipe, right?
Or I could call it Mhias Prátaí le cáis.