It's time for another round of the Cookbook Review II! It's an event dedicated to exploring recipes from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
The event by initiated by Mike of Mel's Diner, joined by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast, Sara of I Like to Cook, Breadchick Marye, Deborah of What's in My Kitchen?, Mary of Cooking for Five, Elle of New England Kitchen, Shaun of Winter Skies, Kitchen Aglow - and, of course, me!
Last time we recreated Julia Child's Sauce au Cari - a light creamy curry sauce - this time our mission was to make a Rapee Morvandelle - a gratin of potato, onions and ham.
As my mum was on her way down to visit with a vegetarian friend, I decided to substitute mushrooms for the ham - throwing in a bit of porcini too to make sure it had the depth of flavour. I made up the mushroom mix the night before, then put it all together when I got home from work.
When the weary travellers finally got in after 10 hours of travelling (flooded rail tracks in Scotland...) it was just about ready to come out the oven. A crisp green salad and some corn on the cob made this a perfect summer dish.
(avec Porcini et les Champignons sans Jambon!)
Ok, so I have quite a few little variations on Julia's recipe - not least the substitution of mushrooms for ham. However, most of these were to do with proportions... Maybe my potatoes were large... or my eggs small - but I had to add an extra egg to give it all a good binding. And a touch more cream. (Though it ended up being a touch more milk - I accidentally knocked the tub of cream all over my cooker... doh!)
The original recipe called for half a clove of garlic. Half. Hmmm... I'm sure it's because modern tastebuds are so desensitised... but this just wasn't going to be enough for me (Plus, what kind of garlic? My local shop sells 4 kinds - of varying strengths and sizes!!) So I used 2, and it was by no means overpowering!
I used two types of cheeses - half gruyere and half emmental... ummmm.... I think next time I might grate some over the top as well. It didn't need it, but I hardly ever treat myself to creamy cheesey dinners, so I want to make the most of it! (I like Ruth's idea of sprinkling some paprika over the top too!)
I used fresh tarragon when preparing the mushrooms, and fresh flat-leaf parsley in the egg mix.
To grate the potatoes quickyl and easily (and stop them going grey!) I peeled them all first, then grated them in my food processor. A quick rinse of water before squeezing them in a tea towel and straight into the egg mix!
- 100g grated cheese
- 5 eggs
- 5 tbsp single cream
- 3 potatoes
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 300g chestnut mushrooms, chopped
- small handful porcini, soaked in hot water for half an hour (reserve the water!)
- 1 tsp chopped tarragon
- 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste (i.e. much more that the original recipe!)
Prepare the Mushrooms...
In a heavy based skillet, heat a knob of butter with a tbsp of olive oil. Add the onions and fry over a low heat for a couple of minutes. Now finely chop the porcini and add to the onions, cooking out for another couple of minutes before adding the chestnut mushies.
Now, when the chestnut mushrooms are almost cooked, they will start to release their juices. At this point, add half the garlic, seasoning and a couple of tablespoons of the porcini soaking liqueur.
Cook until the liquid is absorbed and set to one side.
Prepare the Egg Mixture...
Beat the eggs with the cream until smooth. Add the rest of the garlic, salt and pepper and beat again.
Gently fold in the mushroom mix, along with the cheese and parsley.
This is when you should grate your tatties - any earlier any you'll end up with a greytin... boom boom? Ok, so I'm not funny...
Mix the potato into the egg mix - this is where I had to add the extra egg as the potato was still too dry.
Heat a knob of butter in the skillet. Once it is foaming, add the potato mix - spread to the edges.
Dot the top of the gratin with some more butter and put into the over for 30-40 minutes.
Take out, slice and enjoy!
I really enjoyed this cheesy, creamy goodness! And it went down well with my guests too. I'd like to try it with ham - although the mushrooms were really good with it.
I have just under half of it left in the fridge... I haven't tried it yet - but I'm guessing it's going to be delicious cold when I get home after cocktails with my mum tonight!!