Cheesy Red Potatoes Au Gratin
Thanksgiving is two weeks away and for the first time in a few years Betsy and I aren’t taking our normal pilgrimage to Nashville. We’ll be home taking it easy in case nugget comes very early.
Rather than celebrate the holidays with family, we’ll be with a close group of friends who are all staying local this year. It’ll undoubtedly be a bit more low key than a huge family affair, but there will still be plenty of good food, like this Red Potatoes Au Gratin, and lots to be thankful for.
I would never suggest that you should leave mashed potatoes off the Thanksgiving table because I think they would take away my food blogger license if I did that. But there’s nothing wrong with having more than one potato option and this dish is an entirely different beast.
While mashed potatoes are creamy and perfect for sopping up gravy remains, these potatoes are sturdy and stand on their own. Baked in a three cheese sauce, they develop that classic au gratin cheese lid that I wish you could just buy and eat on its own.
If not for Thanksgiving, just make room for Red Potatoes Au Gratin at some point in your fall/winter meals.
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Slice potatoes thin, but not paper thin. Dunk the sliced potatoes in cold water.
3) In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat and then whisk in flour. Let cook for 2-3 minutes until roux darkens slightly.
4) Whisk in milk slowly so lumps don’t form. Let sauce thicken and bubble for a few minutes once the milk is whisked in.
5) Add all grated cheese to the sauce and season with garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
6) Drain potatoes really well. Add cheese sauce to bowl with sliced potatoes and stir to combine.
7) Butter a 2 1/2 quart baking dish and pour in the potatoes. Try to arrange them so they lay flat in the baking dish.
8) Cover dish with foil and bake for an hour at 350 degrees F. Then uncover and bake for another 30-40 minutes until the dish is browned on top and cooked through. Check the center with a knife to make sure the potatoes are tender.
9) Let the dish cool for 15-20 minutes and then slice and serve the potatoes!
Red Potatoes Au Gratin
Really any potato should work fine for an au gratin dish like this Red Potatoes Au Gratin. Russets are fine, but if you use them you should probably peel them. I like to use these little red potatoes because they aren’t quite as starchy and there’s no need to peel them.
Just slice them up and you’re ready to go.
As you slice them, toss them in a water bath to keep them from oxidizing and also wash off any dirt. Just be sure to drain them well before mixing with the sauce later!
Three Cheese Sauce
I like a cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese blend for this sauce. I used Sargento Off the Block shredded cheese for this version.
To make the actual sauce, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Let that cook for a few minutes until the roux starts to turn a light tan color. Then whisk in the milk in a slow stream. Try not to add the milk too fast or it will form lumps.
Once the milk is added, let it bubble and thicken for a minute or two and then add in all the cheeses.
Season the sauce with garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Feel free to taste it at this point and adjust the seasoning to your liking. If the sauce is good then the potatoes will be good!
Baking the Dish
Drain your potatoes really well and then stir them together with all that delicious sauce.
Add this mixture to a buttered baking dish and you’re ready to go.
You don’t need to be completely anal about the potatoes but try to make sure they are in a somewhat even layer so they bake evenly.
Cover the dish with foil and bake it for an hour. Then remove the foil and bake it for another 40 minutes or so until the potatoes are really tender in the center and browning a bit on top.
When this dish comes out, let the potatoes cool for a few minutes so the sauce can thicken a tiny bit. They will be way too hot to chow down on immediately. It’ll be a long few minutes while you wait for it to cool enough to spoon into it.
Holiday side dish or otherwise, who doesn’t love a big dish of cheesy, creamy potatoes?
Be sure to check out all the Sargento cheese options, including Sargento Shredded Cheese. Follow Sargento on Pinterest and Sargento on Facebook for great deals and recipes. Right now Sargento is hosting a recipe contest on its Facebook page. Enter your favorite recipe featured Sargento Shredded Cheese and be entered to win $2,000 toward kitchen supplies and ingredients and a year of free cheese!