September 11th, 2020 03:04:00 pm
An amazing comfort food, our Fast Gratin Parmentier can be prepared, baked and served in the same pan, and clean up is fast too because the cheese and potatoes simply won't stick even after baking! And here is a sneak peek at the meat prior to making meatballs. Yum yum.
But before we get into the recipe... I must share the amusing fact that the French have always viewed potatoes as only fit for animal consumption. A pharmacist Antoine-Augustin Parmentier (1737-1813) spent his 'post-war prisoner' life promoting the potato in Paris, as he learned their value while consuming them as a German prisoner. That is where this dish gets it's name. The word “parmentier” is used to refer to any dish prepared with potatoes. Now that the French have embraced the potato, we can all rest easy. Here are the ingredients you should assemble.
Start by making the bechamel sauce, which is a Fench white sauce thickened with a roux made with butter and flour. It is pronounced "bay shu mel." It is often made with herbs, but here we use nutmeg which gives it a delightful cozy flavor. In our Titanium Universal Pot, (see it here), melt the butter. Then add the flour and stir it until it gets smooth. Keep cooking this roux until it turns a light golden color, which will take about 6 or 7 minutes over medium-low heat. In a separate pan, heat the milk until it is almost at a boil. Once it's hot enough, gradually add the hot milk one cup at a time to the butter, continually whisking the entire time until it's smooth. I use a rubber/silicone whisk so as not to scratch the cookware surface. Once all of the milk is incorporated, bring the whole thing to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, stirring it constantly. Season it at the end with salt and nutmeg and your set it aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Next, get a big bowl and add your ground meat, chopped parsley, chopped onion and paprika. Add a little bit of salt and pepper as well. Once all ingredients are together, mix and combine well.
Now, peel three potatoes and boil them until they are semi-soft, about 7 minutes. You do not want them to be mushy because you will need to slice them once cooled. Once cooled, slice them and arrange them around the bottom of a round Titanium Sauce Pan or Casserole Pan (see the sauce pan here). Lay one layer flat on the bottom, and arrange another layer around the sides as well. Don't worry, these will not stick to our cookware!
Now, form your meat mixture into meatballs (there should be about 15). Arrange them on top of your slices of potato that you laid out earlier. Now put remaining slices of potato as "walls" between the meatballs so that each one has its own compartment. Pour the Bechamel Sauce into each one of the compartments until it is relatively full. If you have too much, you can use it in another recipe next day. Top this with the thin layer of shredded mozzarella. Put the sauce or casserole pan into the oven for about 30 minutes. Test to see that the meatballs are to temperature and you will know it's done.
And now you are hopefully enjoying Fast Gratin Parmentier along with a healthy bit of salad or side vegetable. This is a deliciously cheesy and creamy French casserole-style dish that everyone loves.
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