“Look at that moon. Potato weather for sure.”
~ Thornton Wilder, Our Town
I love cooking, and not surprisingly most of our visitors seem to end up dropping in around meal times. This creamy potato bake is easy to make (like all my recipes!) and I whipped this one up to feed the extra hungry mouths that ended up sitting at my table last night.
One of my favourite things in the whole world is friends sharing food, laughing and chatting around the dinner table. The buzz around here right now is who’ll be performing at Bluesfest, and whether it will be rain, mud and gumboots – or sunshine and clear skies.
But enough of music. Back to the recipe!
1 x onion, 2 to 4 x large potatoes, 1 x big golden sweet potato, 300ml cream (1 and a 1/4 cups heavy cream for my American friends), 2 x fat cloves of garlic – crushed, 1 teaspoon of vegetable stock powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon of boiling water, 1 tablespoon of plain flour or gluten-free flour if needed, 1/2 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of grated cheese, salt, pepper, freshly grated nutmeg and a little butter.
When you’re working out quantities, use your eyes! Allow around 1 decent sized potato or sweet potato/sweet potato chunk per person. Aim for about one cup of vegetable for each adult. This recipe serves 4 to 6 people as a side dish. However, 2 hungry people have been known to devour this dish on its own on a cold rainy night at the farm…
Uee the butter to grease an oven-proof dish big enough to fit your raw ingredients! Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).
Thinly slice your potato (if clean no need to peel), sweet potato and onion. Layer the potato, sweet potato and onion into the dish, scattering some cheese in the middle. Keep a little onion over for the top of the bake. Give a grind of pepper as you go.
Finish by mixing the cream, milk, stock, garlic and flour together. The easiest way to do this is in a lidded jar or drink shaker. Pour the mixture over your potatoes and sprinkle the remaining cheese on the top. Now grate on some fresh nutmeg and a little more pepper.
Bake for 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours. The cooking time will vary based on how thick your potato slices are and how deep your dish is – shallow dish or thin slices means it will cook faster. Deep dish or fat slices will cook slower.
Note: if the top is browning too quickly cover with foil
This dish goes well with barbecued or roast meats, salads and vegetables. It can be jazzed up with fresh herbs, different cheeses and bacon. I also throw in some capsicum (bell pepper) now and again, and swap the nutmeg for smoked paprika.
It reheats well, but is also tasty cold. If you are lucky enough to have left overs…
* To make a delicious vegan version use 1 heaped teaspoon of your favourite curry paste to flavour instead of the cheese, and substitute soy milk or coconut milk for the dairy.