A real treat for us when we eat out is to have an order of Au Gratin Potatoes. But they have to be good! That means, creamy, rich with the right seasonings and the potatoes must have a “melt in your mouth” tenderness. So yesterday we visited a new grocery here in downtown Minneapolis. I was absent of any dinner ideas, until I saw the beautiful lamb chops behind the meat counter glass. They are pricey, but we enjoy them and it’s not like they are on the menu every week. So what to serve with it? I thought of one of our favorite restaurants and the first thing that hit me was …. why not Au Gratin’s? So, I looked on line and found a recipe, made some adaptations and here you are! They turned out perfectly done, very creamy and seasoned perfectly. I also made this in individual 6″ cast iron pans so we could each have our own. The recipe calls for using a large casserole, but if you have a cast iron skillet of any size I’d use that. The pan helps provide a little crust on the bottom which is really, really tasty!
- 4 Russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8″ thick
- 1 medium onion, sliced thin
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1/4 red pepper flakes
- Smoked paprika
- 2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese-shredded
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whether using cast iron or a 1 quart casserole, butter the bottom and sides generously.
- Layer 1/2 of the sliced potatoes on the bottom of the pan/casserole. Top with the onion slices.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir for one minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until the mixture thickens. Stir in the cheese, all at once, and continue to cook until the cheese has completely melted, about 30-40 seconds.
- Pour 1/3 of the cheese mixture over the onions and potatoes. Layer the remaining potatoes over and then top with the remaining cheese mixture. Sprinkle the top with smoked paprika. Cover the dish with foil.
- Bake 90 minutes. If you like the top browned more, remove the foil and place the pan/casserole under the broiler for a few minutes until it is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.