Potatoes Au Gratin

from the kitchen of Chef Paul Prudhomme

Makes 8 to 10 servings

You're in for a real treat if your experience with potatoes au gratin has
been with boxed versions. You'll need a big casserole dish in which to bake
this--and the result is big, rich, and very satisfying.
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Chef Paul Prudhomme's Vegetable Magic®
2½ teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
10 cups sliced peeled potatoes (about 7 medium-large, sliced ¼ inch thick)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, in all
¾ cup grated onions
2½ cups grated peeled potatoes
2 cups chicken stock, in all
½ cup finely diced red bell pepper
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, in all
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
how to prepare

Combine the first three ingredients in a small bowl to make the Seasoning Mix.


Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.  Add the sliced

potatoes, return to a boil, and cook until just firm-tender, about 2 to 3

minutes.  Drain and rinse under cold running water.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a 12-inch skillet over high heat.  When it

begins to sizzle, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the

onions are golden, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Stir in 1 tablespoon of the

seasoning mix, the grated potatoes, and the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. 

Cook, scraping often with a spatula to keep a crust from forming on the

bottom of the skillet, about 5 minutes.  Add 1 tablespoon of the seasoning

mix and 1 cup of the stock and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan

occasionally, until the mixture is thick, light brown in color, and sticking

hard to the bottom of the skillet, about 5 to 6 minutes.  Add the bell

peppers, parsley, remaining 1 cup stock, and the remaining seasoning mix,

and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.  Whisk in the milk, breaking

up the grated potatoes (they will act as a thickening starch).  Bring to a

rolling boil and cook, whisking occasionally, until the sauce is light

brown, about 4 minutes.  Add the cream and return to a boil, whisking

occasionally.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking occasionally,

until very thick, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Add 1 cup of the Cheddar and the

Monterey Jack cheese and cook, whisking, until the sauce returns to a boil. 

Remove from the heat. 

Preheat the oven to 375o.

Pour a thin layer of the sauce over the bottom of a large, deep casserole

dish, about 10 by 10 by 4 inches.  Add the sliced potatoes and pour the

remaining sauce over them.  Sprinkle the top with the remaining 2 cups of

grated Cheddar cheese.  Bake uncovered until brown and bubbly on top, about

25 minutes.