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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

French Potato Casserole!!

There was a bit of drama when I set out to make this recipe. See, after my brother and sister in law had their baby, Alora, Todd, Alex and I went over and brought some food. I brought stuff to make a main dish casserole for them to enjoy at a later date, and then I brought a recipe and the fixings for this here potato casserole. I had forgotten to bring my mandolin then, but I did remember the recipe.

Cut to a few weeks ago when I made this dish. I had it all set up to go, but I couldn't find my recipe. I figured I had left at it Scott and Amery's despite calling Amery and having her say lol, no, I gave it to you. Then I figured I had lost it FOREVER in transit.

It's from Cook's Illustrated, so I went to their website. I was justifiably outraged when they demanded I sign up for a free 14 day trial period, complete with submission of a credit card number. I JUST WANT MY RECIPE. I already give those bastards my money and so I was piiiiissed.

Luckily I found it on another blog, and after a nasty email sent off to Cook's, I was able to get started. And then Sunday I found my recipe, nestled between two cereal bowls in the cabinet. I keep some of my cookbooks, plus my recipe box, in the cabinet so it wasn't a total senior moment, but still, not my finest.

I have made changes to the recipe. For example, it calls for bacon, but I frequently skip it for time, fat content and due to the fact that we always have meat for dinner. It feels like a Jim Gaffigan skit if I add more meat. Let's add some meat to our meat so we don't starve. This meat is pretty bland, could we add some meat to it? Although I've been known to wrap chicken breast in bacon and bake it so I guess I just hypocrite bitch slapped myself? I DON'T KNOW. For the original recipe, this blog does it.

Hearty French Potato Casserole
serves 2 - 4 as a side dish

Total time: 1 hour - 1 hour 15 minutes
1 whole onion, sliced
2 large potatoes, sliced thin
1 large zucchini (about 8oz), sliced thin
1 tsp Penzeys Parisien spices blend (optional)
1 tsp dried thyme
Black pepper to taste
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 425. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in either oil or butter, your choice. If they brown up too quickly, or if the bottom of the pan gets too brown, add bits of water to loosen it all up. 

Surprisingly, or maybe not surprisingly for all you geniuses out there, the onions will take about 20 minutes. Use your time wisely, as my fourth grade teacher, Mr. Christie, would tell us. I made fortune tellers. So now, let's slice up our veggies. I used a mandolin because AWESOME, and TIME SAVER and BLURRY PHOTO.

Check that out! I could have actually set the mandolin to slice then a wee bit thinner but we're rolling with it.

Hey there, innuendo!

All right, now the veggies are sliced.

If you're lucky, you will have a kitchen helper who is more interested in the light switch than whatever it is you're doing.

Let's check those onions. Yummy looking!

So here is the delicious Parisien spice blend I got as a party favor at Kendra's bridal shower. SO GOOD.

Thank you for your thyme...

Now, add those spices, plus black pepper, and your delicious onions to the sliced veggies in a big bowl and toss to coat. It's sort of a pain because the potato slices are like a new deck of cards and the slices stick together.

Now for the "broths" or, as I like to call them, my bouillon sources: The Wyler's maybe be powdered, but it is sodium free which helps balance the sick amount of sodium in the low-sodium version of Better Than Bouillon's beef base.

Mix up your bouillon with the water and put it all together in the onion skillet until it is simmering. Meanwhile, arrange your veggies. I like to do potatoes, onion, zucchini, onion, and then top with the potatoes. The idea of those delicious onions drying out makes my heart ache. Ah, look! My helper has arrived.

Why yes, they DO look like worms! Anyways, now for the zucchini layer...

Onion layer...

And the final potato layer, complete with victorious stab of a measuring spoon in a grubby little hand. As I type this, my baby is on her way to her first swim lesson. I die a bit. Todd better take photos. Anyways, press down firmly to make sure the casserole is more or less evenly layered. This is most important in the corners which can tend to be less full, if that makes sense. Sorta slide stuff around to get it all nestled.

Now for the broth. I said two cups but what you really need is just enough to sufficiently cover, but not completely drown, your layers. Like so:

Does she ever wash her pyrex dishes, Jesus! Now for the mega part! THE BUTTER. Make sure to evenly dot the casserole.

It takes about 45 minutes in the oven, but once you're done, let it sit out for about 15 minutes. As you walk by the dish, try not to eat the top potatoes. Oh fuck it! EAT THEM ALL, they're halfway between scalloped and potato chips, and they are to die for!

Look at that deliciousness!

BOOOM, as I like to say to Kendra when I score 60 points on a word in Words With Friends. BOOOM!

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