Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I can't believe I'm giving out my Trade Secret!

I don't typically give out recipes.  This is one of the ways in which I am becoming like my mother more and more.  I thought it might become a little theraputic for me to be a giver in this capacity.  So, my goal is to share a recipe or meal idea once a week.  Some weeks may contain more, but the goal is once a week.

On to the Trade Secret!  I think this dish landed me a husband. 
I have been making a variation of this dish since high school.  At that time, I just called it Roasted Potatoes.  While watching a Julia Child show a few years back, I discovered that I had been making a classic French dish, Pommes Anna, all along.  I have just tweeked it a little;) 

This is kind of a special occasion dish because there is a little prep time involved & its just so good you shouldn't eat it all the time!!!  I like to serve it to company & to Matt for his birthday supper.  I also made this for him the first time I cooked supper for him, about 2 weeks after we started dating.  Like I said, I think it landed me a husband.

This is what you will need:
Pommes Anna (for 6, but can easily be made for more or less peeps, just reduce amounts)

3 small potatoes (with peel)
1 1/4 cups water
4 TB (tablespoons) butter (don't substitute)
2 chicken bouillion cubes
1/2 ts (teaspoon) black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
DON'T ADD SALT-the bouillion has plenty of salt.

That's it! Now, as for equipment.  I cook this dish in a cast iron skillet because the potatoes get nice and crispy on the bottom and thats really yummy.  But, I have certainly used a small square pyrex casserole dish before, no problem.  If you are making this for a larger crowd, I use a 9x13 pyrex casserole dish.  You just want to make sure and use a dish that is proportionate to the amount of potatoes & liquid you are using.  Because if you use a dish too large for the amount of food you are preparing then the liquid will evaporate too quickly and your potatoes won't cook properly.  And, if you use a dish too small for the amount of food you are preparing, then the cooking process will take a lot longer and you won't get the great crunch and color.  I also use a little gadget  for slicing the potatoes, its basically a lower tech mandalin.  Before, I used to slice the potatoes (with a knife) as thin as I could possibly get them.  My little gadget makes this step soooooo easy!  And, its great for your other slicing and dicing needs as well.  You will need a small saucepan to make your little sauce.

The skillet with a a little non-stick spray on it....(I'm still working on seasoning that sucker to perfection!)  I would say that this skillet is a medium sized skillet. 
This is a pic of my little gadget! I think it was like $10. You can get 1 at Walmart, Big Lots, etc.

And this is what it does to potatoes...
A close up
Almost as thin as a potato chip!
So, you want to start layering your potatoes....you want to make somewhat even layers because if everything is piled up unevenly, it won't bake evenly.  So, I like to make it look pretty:)
And a pic of the first complete layer
Before you start slicing potatoes, you need to put together your broth.  On medium high heat, like a 7 on the control dial, put your water, bouillion cubes, butter and pepper in the pot.  you don't even have to stir it at this point.  It will all melt down and start to simmer.  Stir and then reduce heat to low or turn off until you get the potatoes ready.  Your broth will look like this...
Pour this over your potatoes.  The liquid should come up to about 3/4 to the top of the potatoes, not to cover them. 
Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes.  A little longer for thicker potatoes with more liquid.  When it looks like the next pic, its done!
Amazing.  Simply Amazing.
The thin potatoes get crunchy like potato chips on top and caramelized on the bottom while staying amazingly moist and tender in the middle.  Its a great mesh of textures and flavors.  I suggest serving with a great salad and steak, chicken or pork tenderloin for a simple yet elegant meal.  Last night, I was out of salad so I served with leftover asparagus.  This was a treat last night because Matt gave up white potatoes during Lent.  He deserved a welcome back into the potato world;)  So, we split a lovely rare filet.
And there you have it....the side dish that will land you a husband and/or very happy dining companions:)

Note:  If you are unable to get your potatoes as thin as demonstrated its ok!  Just slice them about 1/4 inch thick and layer as demonstrated.  You also need to increase the water in your broth.  So, if you still used 3 small potatoes, sliced them 1/4 inch thick then I would increase my water amount to between 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cup.  I would also decrease my oven temp to 400 degrees for the first 30 minutes and then bump it up to 425 for 15-25 minutes or until you get desired color.  Just play with it, you can't mess it up unless you burn it!


christy ross said...

that looks fabulous. and you *may* inspire me to share the ONE recipe I hold tighter than my favorite black heels.

Erin Caden Rogers said...

I feel strangely liberated.....Just do it! However, I am still holding tight to my cream cheese pound cake recipe. I'm just not ready to give that one up!