Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Parmesan Potatoes

When I decided to make Pork Chops with Rosemary Cream Sauce, I racked my brain for a little while trying to figure out what side I wanted with it.  I already knew that my vegetable was going to be roasted cauliflower.  We haven't had that in a while, and my kids were asking for it, but that didn't help me with a potato, pasta or rice.  All of a sudden, au gratin potatoes came to mind.  I haven't had them in.......well, I can't remember when I had them last.  They sounded great, and my heart was set on having them when I realized that I didn't have any good, sharp cheddar cheese.  Bummer!  You know how you can't get something out of your head, especially once you know you can't have it.  Yeah, that was me with the au gratin potatoes.  So, I decided to go with what I did have on hand.  I always have cheese, just not always cheddar.  As far as shredded cheese, I had an Italian Blend or Colby Jack.  Neither one had a strong enough flavor for au gratin.  The other types of cheese I had were Gorgonzola crumbles, which I would love in this recipe but my husband and son might balk at pure, unadulterated blue cheese potatoes, Pecorino Romano - that's a possibility, or Parmesan - BINGO, we have a winner!  Parmesan au gratin potatoes - these have the potential to be better than regular au gratin potatoes!  I'll let you decide.

Once I settled on the Parmesan, then I decided to try and make these a little skinnier than regular au gratin potatoes.  I think I did a fair job, and in doing that, I cut out some of the excess sauce.  Never fear, though!  Even if they are not drowning in sauce, they are still full of flavor!

Here's you Cast of Characters.

8 - 10 Medium potatoes
1 Onion, chopped
2 Teaspoons minced garlic (I used roasted but regular is fine, too.)
1 Tablespoon butter, unsalted
1/2 Cup chicken broth
1 Teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 Teaspoon Lawry's season salt
1/2 Teaspoon, each, onion powder and McCormick Perfect Pinch Garlic & Herb seasoning
4 Oz. neufchatel cheese (1/3 less fat cream cheese)
1 Cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 pan.

Peel potatoes.  Cut them in half lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices.

Parboil for 10 minutes.  So as not to overcook them, set the timer from the moment you place them on the burner.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, melt butter.  Saute onion and garlic over medium heat, stirring frequently.

Cook for about 5 minutes, until onions start to turn translucent.

Add chicken broth, cream cheese and seasonings.

Cover and cook on medium-low for 5 minutes, stirring every so often to mix in cream cheese.

After timer for potatoes has gone off, drain and place in prepared pan.  Set aside for a moment.

Once cream cheese has been incorporated into sauce, add Parmesan cheese.  Stir well, but it doesn't have to melt completely.

Pour over potatoes.  Now this isn't going to seem like enough sauce, but it will be.

Use a spatula to gently stir the sauce in, coating the potatoes.  Be careful not to break the potatoes into smaller chunks.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 10 minutes.  To finish it off, broil on low for 5 minutes.

The top isn't going to get really golden, but the bottom has a nice layer of brown, crispy potatoes!