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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Joyeux Noël

Recently, Editor Kristen K. Tucker learned to cook a 5-course French Christmas dinner — in Wisconsin. Under the direction of Chef Scott Baker of L’ecole de la Maison, a cooking school at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, eight enthusiastic participants learned how to go from casual cook to executive chef in just one four-hour culinary journey. According to Baker, the proper planning and procurement of ingredients make all the difference. Here we share one of the recipes from the kitchen of his French Christmas dinner class:

Potatoes Dauphinoise

Servings: 8-12
•  2 tablespoons butter, unsalted, softened
•  2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced (1/8 inch) (use a mandolin)
•  1 1/2 cups heavy cream
•  1 clove garlic, peeled, smashed
•  1 each bay leaf, Turkish
•  12 each black peppercorn, freshly cracked
•  1 teaspoon sea salt
•  Pinch nutmeg, fresh grated
•  1 1/2 cups Gruyere cheese, finely shredded
•  2 tablespoons butter, unsalted

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Rub butter over the inside of a shallow 9-by-9 inch baking dish. Combine the cream, garlic, bay leaf, cracked peppercorns, salt, and nutmeg in a saucepot. Bring the cream to a boil; remove from the heat; let sit to infuse flavors a few minutes. (This can be done while you slice the potatoes.) Place the sliced potatoes in a bowl, and strain the infused cream over the potato slices. Stir with your hands to soak each slice of potato. Shingle half of the potatoes in the buttered dish so they are flat. Sprinkle half of the Gruyere over, and shingle the remaining potatoes into the dish. Pour the remaining cream over the potatoes. Sprinkle the other half of the cheese over the potatoes and dot with butter. Bake until the potatoes are tender, and the sauce is noticeably thick and creamy (about 45 minutes – 1 hour). Let sit 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

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