Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Minnesota Purple Potato Eaters

My "Run Jean Run" blog is fast becoming "Cook Jean Cook." But this was worthy of sharing... :)

Back in the "good ol' days" (if indeed there is such a thing for Vikings fans) the Minnesota Vikings defense was known as the "Purple People Eaters." This past weekend, I ate purple potatoes in honor of their first playoff appearance (and, as it turns out, playoff loss) in several years.

I concocted this dish a few years ago. It is your basic gratin Dauphinoise, a classic French scalloped potato dish topped with a dark crust of Gruyère cheese. But this one has a twist.

I found some purple potatoes at my local grocer, so I was inspired to make the gratin with alternating layers of purple potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes; purple and gold being the color of my Minnesota Vikings! It is the perfect side dish to serve for a die-hard Vikings fan. I thought I would share how it is done, and I took a few pictures to show how it comes together.

Here is what you need:

Jean's Minnesota Vikings Gratin Dauphinoise

-Butter for the baking dish
-1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
-1 lb. purple potatoes, peeled
-Salt and fresh ground black pepper
-4 cloves garlic, very finely minced
-Approximately 1 1/2 cups of some sort of fatty liquid dairy product (cream, half & half, whole milk, or whatever combination thereof)
-Pinch of nutmeg (fresh grated if you've got it)
-1/4 lb. Gruyère cheese, grated

Thinly slice the peeled potatoes. Place them in alternating layers in a buttered baking dish, sprinkling each layer with salt, black pepper, and a little bit of minced garlic.

You can see the purple potatoes are quite dark when sliced. The color does fade somewhat when cooked.

When all of your layers are down, add a pinch of nutmeg to the your cream, half & half, or milk (or a combination). Pour over the potatoes. You need to pour in just enough liquid, making sure that the liquid does not completely cover the potatoes (You want the top to brown, and you don't want this to bubble over and make a mess in your oven, so take care! You may wish to place a layer of foil below the baking dish to catch anything that may drip.).

Add the Gruyère cheese over the top. Gruyère is the classic cheese for a gratin Dauphinoise. It has a strong, nutty flavor and it develops a beautiful brown color on top when baked.

In a 375 F degree oven, bake covered for 30 minutes, and then uncovered for 45 minutes more. The top will start to get really dark, but that is what you want. Don't get scared, it will be OK! Remove from the oven and let sit for at least 15 minutes to a half an hour before slicing. It will stay plenty hot, and it needs time to settle.

As you can see, the different colored layers will be visible when sliced, even if the color does fade when cooked. Also notice the very dark brown top. This is what you are looking for with a gratin Dauphinoise.

A nice, dark crust, and contrasting layers of color

Here you have the finished product; Jean's Minnesota Vikings Gratin Dauphinoise, served with Swedish potato sausage and broccoli.

A treat for any Vikings fan!

Enjoy, and GO VIKES!!!! (groan...)

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