Tuesday, March 30, 2010
There are so many reasons to search for a recipe. Sometimes you have a craving, sometimes your husband has one. Sometimes you want to recreate a dish you've had before. Sometimes, you just want to use up what's in the fridge. Yesterday was one of the latter. Saturday I made another French Laundry recipe (post coming soon) and aside from a delicious meal, I had a fridge full of ingredients that I needed to use up - a couple leeks, some cream, the list went on. I was going to grill a rack of lamb for dinner so I thought a leek and potato side dish would be perfect.
So I began my search. Usually these searches result in a pile of at least 10-20 of my 100+ cookbooks strewn all over the island. This time I got it on the first try. I grabbed the Bon Appetit Cookbook, looked up leeks in the index and just about jumped for joy when I read that there was a Potato, Leek, Mushroom and Gruyere Gratin - perfect!!! Aside from potatoes and leeks, I also had a nearly full package of Crimini mushrooms. I scanned the recipe and found I'd need to substitute my Crimini mushrooms for the recommended oyster mushrooms and use Swiss in lieu of Gruyere. Easy enough. (And I used part cream, part lowfat milk to reduce the fat...)
This is a really nice gratin - I baked it in the afternoon and then reheated it for dinner. The mushrooms add a nice earthy flavor - try to cook the water out of them when you saute them to keep the gratin thick and creamy. My version follows - this would serve 4 as a side dish. The original is for a 13x9 inch pan, so I cut it in half to fit the ingredients I had (and to ensure we wouldn't be eating it for weeks to come!)
Potato, Leek, Mushroom and Cheese Gratin
adapted from the Bon Appetit Cookbook
2 Tbsp. butter, divided
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and pale green parts
leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme, minced (about 1 tsp.)
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup cream (I used half cream, half lowfat milk)
3 Tbsp. dry white wine
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (I used 2 large)
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. plain breadcrumbs
Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and saute until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute until mushrooms are tender and golden and their liquid has evaporated. Transfer mushroom mixture to a bowl. In the same pan, melt 1 Tbsp. butter. Add the leeks and thyme. Saute until leeks are tender and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the mushrooms and stir to combine. (This can be made a day ahead.)
Create another layer of potatoes on top, then pour half the cream mixture over it. Add the remaining leek and mushroom mixture, then the remaining Swiss cheese. Top with the rest of the potatoes and then push the whole thing down with the back of a spatula. Pour the rest of the cream mixture over the top, then sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
Bake uncovered until potatoes are tender and sauce is bubbling thickly, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Let stand a few minutes before serving.