Wednesday, 13 January 2016
I make no secret of the fact that the humble potato is my favourite vegetable. Actually I love all vegetables (except canned peas), and could quite happily become a vegetarian . . .
well . . . except for my love of a good steak, which I would really have a hard time turning my back on . . . but, I digress.
The potato . . . my favourite vegetable. Yes.
I'm not picky either about how they are prepared. I'll take em boiled, fried, baked . . . you name it!
Mashed, whole, fried until crisp, stuffed, hot cold . . .
Skins, or no skins . . . new, or old. Big or small . . . light and fluffy or waxy and solid . . .
I just love potatoes! This way of preparing them is fabulously easy and really tasty!
No need to make a cream sauce of any kind . . . just peel 'em and slice 'em (really thin, use a mandoline or your food processor) and layer them in a pan with some sliced onion, salt, pepper and thyme, and then cover with hot stock . . . oh and . . . ahem . . . BUTTER! Not lashings of it, mind, but just enough to perfectly gild the lily.
The secret to their melting tenderness is the long slow cooking they get . . . an hour covered . . . so that they melt down soft and absorb all of that lovely stock . . . and then half an hour uncovered . . . just long enough for all that buttery goodness to create a crunchy golden crust on top.
This may well be my favourite way of eating potatoes . . . but then again . . . put any potato in front of me . . . cooked in any way, and I am in . . .
HEAVEN . . . sigh . . .
The potato . . . it may look humble, but then again . . . looks are often quite deceiving are they not?
Meltingly tender potato slices with a crunchy, golden crust, kinda like a good French Baguette!
1 kg floury potatoes (2.5 pounds) such as Maris Piper, Desiree, King Edwards or Idaho
2 medium onions
4 TBS butter, softened, plus extra to butter the dish
300ml of hot chicken or vegetable stock (a generous cupful)
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
a few springs of fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/gas mark 4. Butter a large shallow ovenproof dish. Set aside.
Peel the onions and potatoes and then slice them very thinly using a mandoline or a food processor. Layer them in the prepared baking dish, seasoning each layer with some salt and pepper and a few leaves stripped from the thyme and finishing with a layer of potato. Place the last layer on decoratively and press them down with the flat of your hand firmly. Pour the hot stock over top. Dot with the butter. Cover tightly with foil and then bake in the heated oven for 1 hour.
Remove the foil and bake for a further 30 minutes. The potatoes should be meltingly tender down through with a golden crunchy crust on top!