If you could fill an empty swimming pool with anything edible, what would you choose to fill it with? Jell-O, chocolate pudding, champagne? Why am I asking this ridiculous question?
Mostly, because as a child, it was my all-time favourite question to ask people (including the occasional stranger). I was convinced that this question in particular would lead as a strong talking point in the sandbox while trying to impress my fellow classmates, or while my parents tried to entertain neighbours and new friends. One day, while riding the bus with my babysitter, I asked the bus driver the same question. “If you could fill an empty swimming pool with anything edible, what would you choose to fill it with?” He stared at me hard for a few seconds too long and then replied with… “children”. From that point on, I never asked that question again. Do I trust bus drivers yet? Rarely.
So what prompted me to revisit this question so many years later? Well, last week you couldn’t pry me away from my window. Why? Because there was a MASSIVE sinkhole outside of our building! It was anywhere from 15 to 20 feet deep and 10 feet across Bloor St, a major street in Toronto. Watching the construction workers trying to repair it was fascinating, but oddly enough a question I knew oh so well kept crossing my mind…If you could fill an empty sinkhole with anything edible, what would you choose to fill it with?
Not just any old potatoes but silky layers of creamy, crispy, savoury potato gratin. Enough to fill a sinkhole.
My recipe for dairy and gluten-free potato gratin is as comforting and rich tasting as the real thing. It also makes for great leftovers—unless you are like me and sneak back to the fridge every 20 minutes to have “just one more slice.”
In the next blog entry, I will feature a French-inspired fish dish that pairs beautifully with this potato gratin.
Dairy-Free Potato Au Gratin with Caramelized Onions, Crisp Bacon and Fresh Thyme
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 1. 5 hours Serves: 5 -6 (as a side) Author: Milk & Marigolds
1 sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
3 large red-skin potatoes (keep skin on), thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 yellow onions, sliced
3 tablespoons vegan butter or margarine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves
½ cup of gluten-free bread crumbs
½ cup of dry white wine
1 cup of chicken broth
5 rashers of gluten-free bacon
¾ cup of dairy-free shredded mozzarella ‘cheese’ (I recommend the amazing brand: Daiya)
freshly cracked pepper
3 pieces of crisp bacon, crumbled and set aside for topping once gratin is fully cooked
½ teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves, set aside for topping once gratin is fully cooked
1. In a medium size pan, add olive oil and ‘butter’ on a low heat.
2. Add the sliced onions and stir occasionally. To caramelize the onions effectively, keep on a low heat for approximately 30- 40 minutes while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
3. Near the end of the 30 minutes, add the minced garlic, 1 teaspoon of thyme and the wine. Allow wine to reduce to half its quantity.
4. While waiting for the onions to slowly caramelize, slice the sweet and red skin potatoes into very thin slices. I prefer to use a mandolin but this can also be achieved by carefully using a knife.
5. Next, fry up bacon until crisp and then set aside 3 pieces crumbled for the garnish.
6. Prepare the broth.
7. Preheat oven to 400°F
8. In a large, lightly greased casserole dish, cover its bottom with potato slices. Sprinkle some shredded cheese, caramelized onions, crumbled bacon, breadcrumbs, and cracked pepper and then repeat until several layers of like this have been created.
9. Pour broth evenly over the entire casserole. Sprinkle more breadcrumbs on top.
10. Place on the middle rack of the oven and cook (covered with lid or foil) at 400°F for 35 minutes, then at 425°F for 25 – 30 minutes. Remove the lid halfway through while cooking at 425°F. Then grill gratin (without cover) at 500°F for 5 – 10 minutes until brown and crisp looking.
11. Remove from heat. Garnish with fresh thyme, pepper and crumbled bacon. Enjoy!
12. Serve with my French-inspired fish dish that pairs beautifully with this potato gratin (featured in the next blog entry)
To keep potatoes from turning brown while raw, place in a bowl with cold water. Are you unable to find G-free breadcrumbs? Most health-food stores carry them but you can always make your own by drying out your own G-free bread ahead of time.
Copyright © 2014 . Milk and Marigolds