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Somebody's Mom: Potatoes Au Gratin

Cheese and potatoes equal creamy goodness.

This recipe is for my friend, Rita. Every time I post a new recipe, Rita emails me, “Where is the Potatoes Au Gratin recipe you made for me?” I have no idea what she is talking about. Seriously!  

Rita and her husband Norman came to dinner at my house years ago and supposedly I made them Potatoes Au Gratin. Apparently it was so good, she keeps asking for the recipe. Isn’t it funny how different people remember different things. I remember them coming to dinner. I remember having a good time, but I have no idea what I served. I just hope Rita enjoyed my company as much as she enjoyed my cooking!  

Some dishes I just make up on the spot and don’t have a recipe for them. This must have been one of those dishes.  

Finally, I was fooling around with some potatoes and came up with this recipe. I did read a few au gratin recipes from a few cookbooks to get a feel how I should make it. The truth is I don’t like to use a lot of ingredients for something that should be just simple. Potatoes, cheddar cheese and cream are probably all you need to make this dish. I like using onions, for added flavor. It's the same reason I use butter. Many recipes call for heavy cream which I never use. Half and half is creamy enough and not so “heavy.” 

Rita, what are you going to email me now after reading this recipe and story? I am anxiously waiting to hear from you.

Potatoes Au Gratin

  • 3 cups potatoes, sliced thin (about 5 medium size)
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thin
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Half and half
  1. Oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice potatoes with a mandolin for a very thin cut.
  3. Parboil the potato slices in water with a little salt for 3 to 4 minutes on a full boil, no longer. Drain well in a strainer.
  4. Grease an 8x8 baking dish. 
  5. Layer sliced potatoes and onions, then potatoes again. Ending with potatoes.  
  6. Drizzle the melted butter over the top. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
  7. Pour half and half over the top of the cheese. I start with 1/2 cup and see if I can see the cream coming up through the potatoes, if not, pour another 1/4 cup at a time If you want it less creamy only use the 1/2 cup.
  8. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until cheese looks a little brown and it is bubbly. Serve immediately while still warm.
  9. ENJOY! Who wants a Baked Potato, when you can have Potatoes Au Gratin!

Mariann Raftery, creator of Somebody's Mom blog, cooks up comfort food recipes for families here at home, as well as sending homemade cookie care packages to our American soldiers overseas. Somebody's Mom Cooking videos at http://www.youtube.com, search "Thesomebodysmom".

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