Ah the noble potato. Possibly the most versatile little tuber to ever appear on a menu, it is a common accompaniment to many meals around the globe, and rightly so: the possibilities are endless. But many people’s use of potatoes is very limited, which is a shame, because most people only, to quote Samwise Gamgee: “Boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew”. It is far easier to get frozen chips and roast potatoes, so many people don’t even consider making those themselves. So here is a recipe that takes around 30 minutes to prep and takes no longer in the oven than a tray of oven chips.
6 large washed and peeled potatoes
125 g sharp cheddar cheese
25 g butter
1 tbsp. plain flour
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
200 ml milk
Firstly, halve your peeled and washed potatoes before adding to a large pan of boiling, salted water and put the lid on. Boil these for around 20 minutes while you prep your other ingredients. Finely grate all your cheese and place to the side. Then get a suitably sized oven proof dish and grease it thoroughly. Then, in a small saucepan, add your butter, flour and garlic powder before stirring vigorously on a medium heat, creating a nice roux. Add your milk and stir slowly for a minute. Then slowly start adding around 50 g of the cheddar, stirring the whole time. Add salt and pepper to taste.
By this time the potatoes should be ready. Drain them and add a small amount of cold water to the pan, before draining this too and setting them aside for a couple of minutes. This helps the potatoes cool slightly quicker. This would be a good time to preheat the oven to around 180c/350f. When they are sufficiently cooled, thinly slice them, before adding to the dish evenly. between every layer of potato, add a sprinkle of cheddar, ensuring you have at least 25 g left over for the top. Then add the cheese sauce over the top and add the last of the cheese. Place the Potato Dauphinois in the centre of the oven and cook for about 20 minutes, before whacking under the grill for 5 minutes to brown on top.
Leave to settle for 5 minutes before serving. This is a great accompaniment to many dishes, particularly roast lamb and chicken wrapped in bacon. A nice alternative is to substitute the potato for celeriac, and add a little paprika to the sauce.