Oven Baked Creamy Garlic Potatoes….

This tasty side dish is delicious and works well with all sorts of meats, ranging from the humble sausage to a roast joint of meat. It’s quick and easy to prepare, which is always a bonus, and the ingredients are adaptable to suit the tastes of your family or according to what you have in the fridge. I often make a double quantity so that we have some left for the next day too!

It’s quite a luxurious dish really, considering the ingredients. My maternal great grandmother, who was known to be a wonderful cook, used to make a variation on the theme of this dish every Sunday. She used sliced onions instead of cheese and garlic  and she used stock  where I have used cream. I think they would be known as Lyonnaise potatoes. I wonder what she would have made of my version? She managed to feed a family well in the frugal wartime years, so perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned there!

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The ingredients are flexible and you may adapt my quantities to suit the number of people you are feeding. To make enough to serve 4 people I use the following:

1 large potato per person (sweet potatoes work very well for this dish too!)

2 cloves of garlic (this may be omitted if you’re not keen!)

200 – 250mls of double or single cream

about 200g of Gruyère cheese (Cheddar will still give a tasty result if you don’t have any Gruyère)

plenty of freshly ground black pepper

a few pinches of sea salt

a glug or two of milk to rinse the cream carton out with 

Method:

  • Peel and thinly slice the potatoes to a thickness of about 2mm

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  • Put the potatoes into a pan and pour the cream over the potatoes
  • Rinse the cream carton out with some milk and pour this in too
  • Bring the potatoes to the boil, turn the heat down, then simmer them very gently until they are starting to soften (give them a stir now and again as they have a tendency to catch onto the bottom of the pan)
  • Preheat your oven to 200°C ( if you are already cooking something that requires a different temperature don’t worry – just give the potatoes a bit more or less time in the oven to compensate)
  • Grate the Gruyère cheese and set to one side
  • When the potatoes are softened to your satisfaction, remove them from the heat, then layer them into an ovenproof dish with the cheese and crushed or sliced garlic. Make sure to include a generous grating of black pepper and a good pinch of sea salt with each layer
  • You may, of course, have as many or few layers as you wish, depending on the depth of the dish you are using. Make sure all the dregs of cream from the pan go into the dish too! If the potatoes seem a little too dry, just pour a bit more milk into the dish before it goes into the oven

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  • Cover the dish with foil, then bake the potatoes for about 30 minutes. If convenient, reduce the oven temperature to about 160 – 180°C. Remove the foil, then return the potatoes to the oven for another 15 – 30 minutes
  • When the potatoes are golden brown and feel soft when you test them with a knife, the dish will be cooked
  • This dish retains it’s heat very well and therefore you may remove it from the oven about 10 minutes before it’s needed

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There are no hard and fast rules for the ingredients for this dish. For example, you could:

  • put a thinly sliced onion into the layers too, which would give it extra flavour
  • if you or a member of your family doesn’t want garlic, just miss it out
  • the Gruyère cheese may be replaced with Cheddar or Red Leicester
  • as mentioned above, sweet potatoes also work well instead of ordinary potatoes
  • try using half cream and half milk

Why not try making your own version using ingredients of your own choosing?  One of these days I might even try making it with a mixture of root vegetables!

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