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Subject: Au Gratin potatoes
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

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From: friesian[at]zoocrewphoto.com
Date: 5 May 2006 21:58:23 -0700
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I'd like to make au gratin potatoes in the crock pot.

My mom has always bought the boxed kind, so this is my first time doing
it from scratch. I've looked at several recipes online, and they all
say shredded american or cheese soup. Would shredded cheddar melt okay
in it? Would it be too greasy?

The recipes I have say 1/2 can of cream of mushroom soup. Which size
can are they are using?

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From: Old Mother Ashby 
Date: Sat, 06 May 2006 16:19:47 +1000
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friesian wrote:
>The recipes I have say 1/2 can of cream of mushroom soup. Which size
>can are they are using?

You poor child, are you trying to give yourself indigestion? Cream of 
mushroom soup indeed, I feel queasy just thinking about it.

Here is a decent recipe, though I would caution against attempting to 
improve it with Spam or bacon

  Au Gratin Potatoes

*Serves*: 4-8 people (side dish)

*Ingredients*:
2kg potatoes
600ml cream
100ml milk
Grated Parmesan cheese

*Method*:

*1*. Clean and peel the potatoes, then slice very thinly. Place the 
sliced potatoes in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let stand until 
all the water has drained away. Set aside.

*2*. Heat the cream and milk to a boil. Add the potatoes to the cream 
and milk mixture and bring back to a boil. Allow to cook at a simmer, 
stirring occasionally so the potatoes do not stick to the bottom of the 
pan, for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes have absorbed most of 
the cream mixture.

*3*. Remove the potatoes from the pan with a slotted spoon and place in 
a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and cook in 
a pre-heated oven at 180°C (350F) until the potatoes are cooked and the 
top is a golden brown.

*Tip*: You can garnish this dish with a sprinkling of finely chopped 
rosemary (no too much though!), and for those who like a bit more pep in 
their spuds, try adding a sprinking of cayenne pepper or some black 
pepper. Some people also swear by Spam (spiced ham) or sliced bacon in 
their scalloped potatoes, but these meats can also change the overriding 
flavour of the dish to salty, where it should be creamy.

============================

From: Nancy Young 
Date: Sat, 6 May 2006 07:38:05 -0400
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friesian wrote
> I'd like to make au gratin potatoes in the crock pot.

I'm not being a snob, I promise, but I've never heard of that and
I think you should find a better recipe.  You'll learn more if you
really make it from scratch.  Add mushrooms to this if you
want them.  nancy

From Betty Crocker:

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced (about 6 medium)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
paprika

Cook and stir onion in the butter in 2 qt saucepan
until onion is tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture
is bubbly; remover from heat.  Stir in milk and 1/2 cups
of the cheese.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil
and stir 1 minute.  Place potatoes in ungreased 1 1/2 qt
casserole.  Pour cheese sauce on potatoes.  Cook uncovered
in 325 oven 1 hour 20 minutes or in 375 oven 1 hour.

Mix remaining cheese and the bread crumbs; sprinkle over
potatoes.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Cook uncovered until top is
brown and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes longer. 

============================

From: kilikini 
Date: Sat, 06 May 2006 11:42:19 GMT
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Nancy Young wrote:
> I'm not being a snob, I promise, but I've never heard of that and
> I think you should find a better recipe.  You'll learn more if you
> really make it from scratch.  Add mushrooms to this if you
> want them.  nancy
>
> From Betty Crocker:

I agree, Nancy, this recipe sounds *much* better than what the OP was
describing.

============================

From: Nancy Young 
Date: Sat, 6 May 2006 07:52:04 -0400
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kilikini wrote:
> I agree, Nancy, this recipe sounds *much* better than what the OP was
> describing.

Funny thing is, I just noticed about the crockpot.  Should not post
whilst still asleep.  I have no idea how that changes things, do you?

============================

From: kilikini 
Date: Sat, 06 May 2006 11:56:31 GMT
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Nancy Young wrote:
> Funny thing is, I just noticed about the crockpot.  Should not post
> whilst still asleep.  I have no idea how that changes things, do you?

I think it would break down the potatoes too much, IMO.  For au gratin, you
need really thinly sliced potatoes and you only need to bake them for about
30 - 45 minutes in a regular oven.  I can't imagine a crockpot working as
well.

============================

From: Sheldon 
Date: 6 May 2006 05:09:03 -0700
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Nancy Young wrote:
> Funny thing is, I just noticed about the crockpot.  Should not post
> whilst still asleep.  I have no idea how that changes things, do you?

Actually that's simply braised potatoes.  To be a gratin the dish must
be baked/broiled until the topping is browned and crisped... you can't
make a gratin in a slow cooker.

gratin; gratinée
[GRAH-tn (Fr. , gra-TAN , ), grah-tee-NAY]
A gratin  is any dish that is topped with cheese or bread crumbs mixed
with bits of butter, then heated in the oven or under the broiler until
brown and crispy. The terms au gratin or gratinée refer to any dish
prepared in such a manner. Special round or oval gratin pans and dishes
are ovenproof and shallow, which increases a dish's surface area,
thereby insuring a larger crispy portion for each serving.

© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD
LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst. 

============================

From: friesian[at]zoocrewphoto.com
Date: 6 May 2006 04:57:06 -0700
--------
Nancy Young wrote:
> I'm not being a snob, I promise, but I've never heard of that and
> I think you should find a better recipe.  You'll learn more if you
> really make it from scratch.  Add mushrooms to this if you
> want them.  nancy

Thanks! This sounds a lot better. I don't really like mushrooms, though
I can tolerate that soup, but I didn't want american or cheese whiz
type stuff. But that was all I found when I did web searches. I bought
shredded cheddar and planned to use tha instead of the soup.

I think I will skip the bread crumbs (It's a texture thing, can't stand
meatloaf because of them), but everything else sounds great.

This would still work okay in a crockpot, wouldn't it? I like my
potatoes to be really super soft.

Thanks again.

============================

From: Nancy Young 
Date: Sat, 6 May 2006 08:08:33 -0400
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friesian wrote

> Thanks! This sounds a lot better. I don't really like mushrooms, though
> I can tolerate that soup, but I didn't want american or cheese whiz
> type stuff. But that was all I found when I did web searches. I bought
> shredded cheddar and planned to use tha instead of the soup.

For whatever reason, I think crockpot recipes attract shortcut
recipes.  Just my observation.

> I think I will skip the bread crumbs (It's a texture thing, can't stand
> meatloaf because of them), but everything else sounds great.

You know what, I never add them either.

> This would still work okay in a crockpot, wouldn't it? I like my
> potatoes to be really super soft.

I'm not familiar with crockpot cooking so much, my inclination would
be to slice the potatoes thicker.  I hope someone comes along who
knows much better than I do.

============================

From: friesian[at]zoocrewphoto.com
Date: 7 May 2006 01:58:34 -0700
--------
Nancy Young wrote:
> I'm not familiar with crockpot cooking so much, my inclination would
> be to slice the potatoes thicker.  I hope someone comes along who
> knows much better than I do.

I don't really care if it looks like the recipe. I was actually
planning to cube the potatoes.

I used to buy some frozen meals that had cubed potatoes, broccoli and
cheese sauce But if I followed the directions, the potatoes were still
crunchy. In order to get them soft, I would add water and cook them
twice as long.

So, I figured I could make a huge batch in the crockpot and just cook
them until they are almost like mashed potatoes. Then freeze them in
smaller servings.

I am very picky about texture, so I find the closest recipe I can find
and then change it make the taste and texture I really want.

If it turns out well, I will steam some broccoli and mix it in.

(Typing better, but still have two squished fingers. My index finger is
really starting to look ugly with the bruising, and my middle finger
(the one I squished and filleted), still can't bend.

No fancy cooking tonight. Just baking the meat that needs to be cooked
or frozen in a hurry. Hopefully, tomorrow, I can do more with it. Today
at work was horrible, I never realized how much I use my finger tips.
Or how hard it would be to simply not use two fo them.

============================

From: Sheldon 
Date: 7 May 2006 04:39:13 -0700
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friesian wrote:

> Thanks! This sounds a lot better. I don't really like mushrooms, though
> I can tolerate that soup, but I didn't want american or cheese whiz
> type stuff. But that was all I found when I did web searches. I bought
> shredded cheddar and planned to use tha instead of the soup.

You'll need to use some sort of sauce or the potatoes probably won't
cook very well in a slow cooker (typically a plain white sauce - with
onions added it's called lyonized potatoes).

> I think I will skip the bread crumbs (It's a texture thing, can't stand
> meatloaf because of them).

Without the crisp browned crumbs or a crisped browned cheese topping
it's not a gratin... the "gratin" refers to the crust only, not to the
potatoes.  It's not possible to do a gratin with a slow cooker.  With a
slow cooker you'd be making creamed potatoes... to make it a gratin
you'd need to then add a topping and brown it under a broiler until
crisp.

============================

From: friesian[at]zoocrewphoto.com
Date: 7 May 2006 05:26:48 -0700
--------
Sheldon wrote:
> Without the crisp browned crumbs or a crisped browned cheese topping
> it's not a gratin... the "gratin" refers to the crust only, not to the
> potatoes.  It's not possible to do a gratin with a slow cooker.  With a
> slow cooker you'd be making creamed potatoes... to make it a gratin
> you'd need to then add a topping and brown it under a broiler until
> crisp.

Thanks. In the future, I will refer to them as cheesy potatoes. I grew
up with scalloped potatoes and au gratin potatoes, so I always though
au gratin referred to the cheese. I don't really care about a crust or
being browned. I just want cheese in my my well coooked potatoes. Sorry
if my incorrect terms bothered you. I will try to do better in the
future.

============================

From: readandpostrosie 
Date: Sun, 07 May 2006 13:33:34 GMT
--------
friesian wrote:
> Thanks. In the future, I will refer to them as cheesy potatoes. I grew
> up with scalloped potatoes and au gratin potatoes, so I always though
> au gratin referred to the cheese.

as did i! 

============================

From: Sheldon 
Date: 7 May 2006 06:47:53 -0700
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readandpostrosie wrote:
> as did i!

Well it does, but only if the cheese is browned and crispy as a top
crust... containing a cheese sauce per se does not make any dish a
gratin.

M-W

au gra·tin
adjective
French, literally, with the burnt scrapings from the pan

: covered with bread crumbs or grated cheese and browned (as under a
broiler)

============================

From: "-L." 
Date: 7 May 2006 23:41:53 -0700
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friesian wrote:
> This would still work okay in a crockpot, wouldn't it? I like my
> potatoes to be really super soft.

What you can do is par-boil the potatoes first before baking them in
the sauce/cheese.  I just bake mine a long time, and they are always
pretty soft.  Also, if you bake them covered for the first 20 minutes
or so, most of the potato moisture will be retained and more liquid
generated, so the potatoes will be softer - but the sauce may be
thinner as well.  Then uncover them so the sauce can reduce and the
cheese can then brown a bit.

Most things are trial and error in cooking - even if you cook by
recipe, because every one's kitchen, tools, and experience level
differs; eventually you will find a recipe and technique that works
well for you, your oven and your skills. :)

============================

From: friesian[at]zoocrewphoto.com
Date: 8 May 2006 00:35:57 -0700
--------
-L. wrote:
> What you can do is par-boil the potatoes first before baking them in
> the sauce/cheese.  I just bake mine a long time, and they are always
> pretty soft.  Also, if you bake them covered for the first 20 minutes
> or so, most of the potato moisture will be retained and more liquid
> generated, so the potatoes will be softer - but the sauce may be
> thinner as well.  Then uncover them so the sauce can reduce and the
> cheese can then brown a bit.

Thanks! When you say par-boil - does that mean partial boil, as in
boil, but not the full time? Or does it mean something else?

> Most things are trial and error in cooking - even if you cook by
> recipe, because every one's kitchen, tools, and experience level
> differs; eventually you will find a recipe and technique that works
> well for you, your oven and your skills. :)

I'm pretty good at the error part :)

I'm getting better though. My last batch of black bean chicken was
edible. Not nearly as good as the stuff at work, but okay. The first
batch was so bad, I rinsed the sauce off. That was when I tried the
packet seasoning. My second try was with directions from the cook at
work. I'm going to try again later this week and and see if I can get
it figured out. He was pretty good about giving me portions, but he
cooks in large batches and gave me numbers of how many spoons of each
item. I think he heaps them at different levels.

I'm going to try a new alfredo sauce tomorrow. I have two recipes that
both sound really good. So, I will do a small batch of each and see
what I like.

============================

From: Sheldon 
Date: 8 May 2006 12:47:28 -0700
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friesian wrote:
> I'm pretty good at the error part :)

Whadaya mean part... you're all error.

============================

From: "-L." 
Date: 8 May 2006 14:25:12 -0700
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Sheldon wrote:
> Whadaya mean part... you're all error.

I'm sure you came out of the womb knowing how to cook.

Nevermind - you were probably hatched.

============================

From: friesian[at]zoocrewphoto.com
Date: 8 May 2006 14:58:36 -0700
--------
Sheldon wrote:
> Whadaya mean part... you're all error.

Did I do something to you? Do you think I am somebody else?

You've been rude to me before, but never this bad. I have never
insulted you, called you names, or done anything to you (or anybody
else here for that matter). Are you that bored?

============================

From: Goomba38 
Date: Mon, 08 May 2006 18:07:35 -0400
--------
friesian wrote:
> Did I do something to you? Do you think I am somebody else?
> 
> You've been rude to me before, but never this bad. I have never
> insulted you, called you names, or done anything to you (or anybody
> else here for that matter). Are you that bored?

Stop whining and just ignore him if he bothers you. Why paint a target 
on your forehead with the above response?

============================

From: "-L." 
Date: 8 May 2006 14:23:45 -0700
--------
friesian wrote:

> Thanks! When you say par-boil - does that mean partial boil, as in
> boil, but not the full time? Or does it mean something else?

Yes - boil them for a little while until they are semi-soft.

> I'm going to try a new alfredo sauce tomorrow. I have two recipes that
> both sound really good. So, I will do a small batch of each and see
> what I like.

Good luck!  I think when making things like alfredo, the cheese you
select makes a lot of difference.  I have made good batches and just
edible batches, and I think it's the cheese that has made the
difference. 

============================

From: Don Gray 
Date: Tue, 09 May 2006 14:02:08 +0100
--------
-L. wrote:
> What you can do is par-boil the potatoes first before baking them in
> the sauce/cheese.  I just bake mine a long time, and they are always
> pretty soft.  Also, if you bake them covered for the first 20 minutes
> or so, most of the potato moisture will be retained and more liquid
> generated, so the potatoes will be softer - but the sauce may be
> thinner as well.  Then uncover them so the sauce can reduce and the
> cheese can then brown a bit.

Agreed. This is the advice that I would recommend. Potato chunks would work
fine. Just pre-boil them for 15-20 minutes. Drain well and set aside to cool.
Cook your broccoli sprigs until just lightly firm. Drain well. Make your
cheese sauce with butter, flour and cold milk. Bring to the boil and add a
tangy, grated Cheddar or Gruyère cheese to taste. I also add a spoonful of
ready made English mustard which adds more flavour. Stir well and remove from
the heat. 

Place potato chunks and broccoli sprigs in a lidded oven-proof dish and cover
with the cheesy sauce. Cover and bake in a pre-heated oven at 190°C, 375F,
Gas 5 for about 30 minutes. Check. If cheesy sauce is bubbling well, remove
and serve.

As a matter of interest I cook a similar dish but I mix in cooked flakes of
smoked haddock. It's one of my wife's favourites.


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