It was not until I sat down here and got ready to blog all about this lovely Potato Gratin that I realized I had not photographed one of the most essential, and unique, components of the dish. You see, this week's Meatless Mondays offering is cool and different, and I wanted to tell you all about it. I can still tell you all about it, but I can't show you the innards of this gratin, as it is long, long gone and eaten. Sigh.
As you can see from the title, this is a Potato Gratin with Duxelles. Duxelles, I have learned, is a rich, meaty-tasting mushroom reduction. A long, slow simmer of a large amount of mushrooms cooks them way, way down and reduces them to little more than mushroom....well, mush. But this mush is pure, concentrated mushroom flavor, and it is very, very tasty. Once you have made your Duxelles, you can add it to almost any dish your imagination can dream up. I'm sure it will be fabulous in soups, amazing in omelettes, and delightful mixed into a pan gravy. Here, it was used as a layer of flavor in the Potato Gratin.
Making the Duxelles was quite simple; the hardest part is the waiting. It took me over an hour before all the liquid had evaporated from the pan; that is how you know it is ready. The Potato Gratin, from Cooking Light, was surprisingly decadent for such a light dish. It made me feel like I was being bad when I really wasn't! I love fake-outs like that. Be sure to allow plenty of time to make this whole ensemble, or make the Duxelles ahead of time and stick them in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the Gratin. Oh, and the Duxelles recipe makes a ton! I split up the remainder of my Duxelles in the cups of my muffin tin, flash froze the whole thing, and then popped them out and threw them in a freezer bag. Now I'll have the ability to Duxelle-ify any meal I please!
Potato Gratin with Duxelles
from Cooking Light
makes 10 servings
4 1/2 cups (1/8-inch thick) sliced, peeled baking potato (about 2 pounds)
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. minced garlic
3/4 tsp. chopped, fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3/4 cup Duxelles (recipe follows)
1/2 cup (2 oz.) grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Drain potatoes through a sieve over a bowl; reserve potatoes and liquid.
2. Arrange half the potatoes in an 11x7 glass or ceramic baking dish that is coated with cooking spray. Spread Duxelles evenly over potatoes; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Top with remaining potatoes. Pour the reserved cooking liquid over potatoes; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes, or until cheese begins to brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
from Cooking Light
makes 4 cups
10 3/4 cups sliced mushrooms (about 3 pounds)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup minced onion
1/2 cup minced leek (about 1 small)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
3 Tbsp. fresh minced chives
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1. Place about 2 cups mushrooms in a food processor, and pulse 12 times or until finely chopped, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Place chopped mushrooms in a large bowl. Repeat procedure in batches with the remaining mushrooms.
2. Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, leek, and garlic to pan; saute 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in mushrooms; saute 30 minutes (mine took about an hour) or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in parsley, chives, salt, and pepper. Cool completely before using or freezing.