When the weather’s cold and gloomy all I feel like doing is eating comfort foods. Potatoes smothered in cheese have been on my mind so I decided to whip up a batch of potatoes au gratin. This is one of my “go-to” winter recipes. The potatoes, cayenne pepper and onion are all “warming” foods and the sharp cheddar cheese sauce is full of good fats and protein. In the winter slow-cooked foods are where it’s at!
A few tips about this dish.
I used organic potatoes so I left the skins on. You could peel the skins if you wanted to but if you leave them on you’ll get an extra dose of fiber. I don’t recommend leaving the skins on if you’re using conventional potatoes though.
A great way to reduce your prep time is to slice the potatoes and onions in a food processor with a slicing blade attachment. Slicing by hand takes a lot longer and the pieces tend to be uneven. You can also shred your cheddar cheese in the processor, just switch to the cheese grater attachment.
Cayenne pepper is a powerhouse superfood.
I always use cayenne pepper instead of black pepper. Many people don’t know this but black pepper is mildly toxic. Cayenne lowers cholesterol, increases circulation and even strengthens the stomach lining [to learn more read: Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper].
It does takes a while to make this dish (about 2 hours) but it’s SO worth it! And your kitchen will smell amazing. For even more flavor you can garnish your potatoes au gratin with a splash of hot sauce. You could also sprinkle some chopped nitrate-free cooked bacon or lay a couple of fried eggs on top. Enjoy!
Potatoes au Gratin
makes 4 servings
- 6 medium organic russet potatoes
- 1 medium onion
- salt and cayenne pepper
- 3 Tbsp butter plus extra for greasing pan
- 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt + more for seasoning the potatoes
- 2 cups milk
- 1 & 1/2 cups shredded extra sharp white cheddar cheese
- Hot sauce (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 10″ x 8″ x 3″ pyrex baking dish.
- Cut the potatoes in half and cut into thin 1/8″ slices (or use a food processor).
- Layer half of the potatoes in the baking dish. Season generously with salt and cayenne. Set the other half of the potatoes aside.
- Cut the onion into thin slices and layer on top of the potatoes.
- Layer the remaining potato slices on top of the onion slices. Season again with salt and cayenne.
- In a medium-size saucepan melt 3 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the flour and 1/2 tsp salt and stir constantly for one minute.
- Add milk and continue to cook and stir until thickened.
- Add the cheese and continue stirring for another minute until the cheese has melted.
- Pour cheese sauce over potatoes and cover dish with aluminum foil.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 1 & 1/2 hours (or until the potatoes are fork tender).
- In the last fifteen minutes of cooking remove the foil to brown the top layer.
So good with a splash of hot sauce!