Sunday, November 29, 2009
Potato and Mixed Mushroom Gratin
After breakfast we had our normal green tea with ginger and pomegranate and went to work on Christmas decorating, at a leisurely pace. While we were decorating I was thinking about what to make for dinner. For some reason today I was having a mental block regarding what to serve tonight until after lunch. I finally opted to make a potato and mushroom gratin, seitan with leftover cranberry sauce and brussels sprouts and clementines with citrus poppy seed vinaigrette.
The potato and mushroom gratin had the most prep work and longest cooking time so I started that first. The mushrooms and potatoes were soaking while I was decorating for Christmas. When it was time to reduce the mushroom liquid to make the base of the sauce I needed to spend time in the kitchen. I would estimate the entire meal took only 30 minutes of active cooking/preparation time and another 40 minutes of cooking time. Here is what I make tonight.
Potato and Mixed Mushroom Gratin
2 cups mixed dried mushrooms (from Costco)
4 cups water to rehydrate mushrooms
4 red potatoes, thinly sliced on a mandolin
½ cup almond milk, unsweetened
2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
1 pinch kosher salt, to taste
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place the mushrooms and water in a microwave safe bowl and heat until the water is just below boiling (3 minutes in my microwave). Allow the mushrooms to sit in the water for at least 30 minutes so they can soften.
Set the mandolin one level up from the thinnest setting. Place the sliced potatoes in the bowl of cold water and hold at room temperature while the mushrooms are soaking.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (convection setting).
After the mushrooms have softened strain the soaking liquid through a fine wire mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth or a paper towel (to remove any sandy grit), reserve the mushrooms for later. Pour the mushroom liquid into a saucepan and cook until the liquid has reduced by half. When this happens add the almond milk and cornstarch slurry and simmer until it thickens. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust to your taste. Turn off the heat and allow to cool so that you can handle the sauce.
Line a half sheet pan with aluminum foil (for easier cleanup later). Place four individual spring form pans (approximately 4 inches across) on the sheet pan. Start with a layer of four potatoes slices (they should cover the entire bottom of the pan with a little overlap. Continue layering ¼ of the potatoes in each pan. Finish with ¼ of the mushroom sauce. Fill all four spring form pans with potatoes and mushroom sauce.
Cover the top of the four pans with parchment and then top the pan with another half sheet pan that is weighted down. Bake until the potatoes are tender (about 40 minutes), and then remove from the oven. Allow the potato gratin to cool enough that you can unlatch the pan and remove the dish. A thin spatula should slide easily under the bottom potato stack.
Serve with some of the reserved mushrooms on top. You can warm the mushrooms in a microwave if you choose. I kept mine in a pot of the back of the stove where the oven vents heat so that would keep them warm but not dry them out.
Amount Per Serving
Calories - 170.41
Calories From Fat (4%) - 6.03
Total Fat - 0.68g
Saturated Fat - 0.06g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 106.47mg
Potassium - 967.34mg
Total Carbohydrates - 39.52g
Fiber - 4.24g
Sugar - 0.4g
Protein - 4.4g
The flavor of this dish was quite good. Additionally the texture of the potatoes was also nice. However, I wasn’t entirely pleased by the texture of the sauce. Next time I will make the sauce thicker. I didn’t like the way the sauce ran on the plate but I suppose that is a minor criticism.
I will be back soon with another brussels sprout recipe. Tonight the brussels sprouts were the clear favorite at the table. My father even asked for the recipe (and he hates to cook). I took that as glowing review. If you knew him you would understand.