Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Artichoke and Potato Gratin

I admit, the picture is not great and does this dish absolutely no justice. Because I gotta tell you, this was one of the most amazingly delicious potato dishes I have ever eaten, maybe THE best ever. I printed off the recipe from another blog several months ago and it got shoved off into the Big Pile of Recipes. Last weekend I decided to spend some time organizing them, finally, and came across this recipe. Since I had all the ingredients on hand, I decided it was time to make it, and boy am I glad I did! It was so good, we could could not stop exclaiming all through dinner "This is so delicious!". The sharp tang of the cheese and the wine sauce, the saltiness of the ham and tender artichokes, the textures and flavours all layered together to form one rockin gratin. This is how food should taste.

And the best part is that this dish achieves this amazing level of deliciousness without a smidge of cream and only a small smidge of butter. Who knew a scalloped potato-type dish could be improved by removing the very thing that I figured made it so delicious? I made a couple of minor modifications from the original recipe that came from Bon Appétit, the recipe does not need improving on but I just wanted to cut back on the ham content to make it a side dish rather than a main dish. Even with less ham the sodium content is pretty high, so better to pull some of that out. The calorie count is entirely reasonable, especially if you serve it with a lower-calorie protein like chicken or fish and a steamed veg...we had it with steamed broccoli and sauteed chicken with a pomegranate glaze for a total calorie count of 589, perfect for a weekend dinner. Try this. You will thank me.

Artichoke and Potato Grain
modified from Bon Appetit (just barely!)

•1 tsp butter
•2 cups thinly sliced leeks or onions
•kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
•400g russet potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced (I used mixed baby potatoes and it worked great)
•150g ham, chopped
•1 jar artichoke hearts, rinsed and sliced lengthwise
•90g (about 1 cup) finely grated Comté or Gruyère cheese
•1/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
•1/2 cup dry white wine
•2 tsp flour or cornstarch

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a small casserole dish with cooking spray. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks or onions; sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Set aside.In the same pan, saute the chooped ham until very lightly browned.
Cover bottom of baking dish with 1/3 of potato slices, overlapping as needed, and season with pepper. Scatter 1/2 of ham and leeks/onions over, then 1/2 of artichoke hearts, and sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat layering with potato slices, ham, leeks, and artichokes, reserving a few leeks/onions for top. Cover with remaining potato slices and sprinkle with remaining leeks/ onions and cheese.
Whisk broth, wine, four and some ground pepper in a small pot over medium heat until flour dissolves. Bring mixture to boil; cook until smooth and thickened and slightly reduced, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Pour over gratin. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, then cover gratin with foil, tenting in center to prevent cheese from sticking. Bake 30 more minutes or until potatoes are soft, topping is browned, and juices are bubbling. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Makes 3 servings.

Nutritional Info: 389 calories, 13.5g fat, 23.7g protein, 52.2g carbs, 5.2g fibre, 1000mg sodium.

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