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Mr Potato, Baked

The humble potato dresses up very well.  Initially I thought I would make mash potato, but the weather called for a warm potato bake. One of the challenges I've always had with making potato bakes was even cooking without burning it. So, I decided to bake the potatoes first until they are cooked but firm before adding the white sauce.  After peeling and washing the potatoes, I slice them into not so thin slices, anything between 3-5mm works well.  I bathe the slices in a flavour oil bath of rosemary, salt, pepper and parsley. Place in an oven dish, I prefer one where the potatoes can fit with the slices upright and a few slices flat on the dish. 

The recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 fresh medium potatoes
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary
  • A tablespoon of salt
  • A tablespoon of dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil

For the white sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Dash white pepper
  • A clove of fresh garlic
  • Quarter medium brown onion
  • 1 cup milk
  • A handful (half a cup) of grated Gouda cheese

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Combine oil, parsley, salt, rosemary and coat the potato slices.
  3. Place in the baking dish, add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of water - this helps create moisture so the potatoes don't dry up.
  4. Cover with foil and bake for about 40 mins. 
  5. While the potatoes are in the oven, prepare the sauce by combining the garlic, mustard powder and brown onion using a handheld blender to create a paste. 
  6. In a saucepan heat the butter until melted, throw in the onion garlic paste and quick fry. Careful not to burn it, you just want a sizzle.
  7. Add the flour while stirring using a whisk until smooth. 
  8. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil; add the cheese, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. 
  9. Take out the potatoes from the oven, add the sauce and return to the oven and bake for a further 10 mins until the sauce bubbles.
  10. I like to let it cool down a bit before serving, but you can serve it immediately.

Nutmeg is a little secret I never knew about; it gives an added little flavour to white sauce. I enjoy this with a side of steamed green beans and some deep fried cauliflower.

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