Mr. M has a fondness for Potatoes Au Gratin, or Potatoes and Cheese. Usually, I have served him the kind that comes in a box with dried potato slices and powdered cheese. We all know how healthy that stuff is! I have been afraid of making this particular dish. I don’t quite know why.
But I wanted to rise to the occasion for the Dark Days Challenge. A meal in a single dish. I thought I can do this! And make it SOLE (Sustainable, Organic, Local, Ethical)! Well, maybe SOLEish.
I had potatoes, the kind that are yellow inside. Not the biggest and I probably won’t be trying to grow potatoes in the future; despite my Irish Heritage, I am not the best potato grower. I do grow some great sweet potatoes (yams?) though. More about those later.
I have lovely homegrown leeks, onions, and garlic.
I don’t have any kind of cream though, just yogurt, plain and nonfat. As I mentioned in my last post, I have local butter and cheese. Cheese! It is not the first food one thinks of when thinking of Mexico, but the variety of local cheeses is amazing! There is everything from dry grating cheese similar to Parmesan, crumbly cheese, stringy cheese, soft cheeses, cheeses that melt beautifully (especially in chiles rellenos!), so many different types of cheese. My choices for this dish are a crumbly cheese and an aged, local gouda-style cheese.
The only addition to this dish that is not really local are the mushrooms. They are Monterey Mushrooms and their source is a bit north of my 150 mile limit, but a family owned business with good stewardship practices, so I consider them to be ethical mushrooms. Ethical mushrooms? Okay, from an ethical business.
Now, like I said, I haven’t made this without a boxed mix before. So I sort of winged it.
something creamy: check
Looks okay to me!
I sliced the leek, mushrooms, garlic and potatoes. I melted about 2 tablespoons of butter and sauteed the leeks until they wilted. I added the garlic and mushrooms and sauteed them for a couple of minutes. I mixed the yogurt (about a cup and a half) with the crumbly cheese (its sort of like feta), and some sea salt and black pepper. I layered the thinly sliced potatoes with the leek mixture, then the yogurt mixture and the Gouda-like, shredded cheese. In that order. When I came to the last layer, I saved the cheese to add later. I covered the casserole with foil and baked it at 325 for about an hour. I removed the foil and added the rest of the shredded cheese and baked it for about a half hour more.
About five minutes after I removed the foil Mr.M started sniffing the air, followed shortly by, “How long until dinner?”. It smelled that good!
He was so eager to try it that I didn’t let it sit for a while after removing it from the oven. It probably would have looked better if I had. The taste? As great as it smelled. In fact, one of the last things Mr. M said at bedtime was, “There were leftovers, right?”.