Hatch Potatoes Au Gratin

April 13th, 2009
by: Blue

I made these for Easter dinner.  That is not why this is called “Hatch Potatoes Au Gratin”, but it does fit nicely with the whole Easter theme!  I used Hatch Green Chiles to spice this up, which we adore – the dish was creamy, cheesy and spicy (the perfect flavor combination as far as I’m concerned).  The chiles can, however, be left out if you want a more traditional approach.

1 1/2 – 2 pounds potatoes (any kind, peeled or unpeeled, whatever your preference is)
3 cups milk, or half and half, or heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups cheese (I used cheddar)
3/4 cup roasted Hatch green chiles (optional)
white pepper/pepper/salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Wash potatoes (peel them if you want) and thinly slice. 

In a saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour (yes, you start with a roux, but this will be a very light roux).  Stir constantly for a few minutes until the flour is a very light golden brown.  Add the milk/half and half/heavy cream, whisk constantly until mixture starts coming to a boil and thickens, about 5-10 minutes.  Add cheese and green chiles, continue stirring until cheese is melted and sauce is thickened and creamy.  Season to taste with white pepper and salt.

Spray a casserole pan with non-stick spray.  Place 1/3 of the potatoes in a layer in the pan and lightly salt them.  Pour 1/3 of the cheese sauce over the first layer.  Repeat layers two more times, ending with sauce on top.  Bake for 1 hour, check potatoes for doneness, continue baking if needed.

There are lots of things that could be done with this recipe.  Be creative with the kinds of cheese you use – try gruyere, colby jack, jarlsberg, swiss – or a combination of several kinds, e.g. 1 cup chedder plus 1/2 cup fresh parmesean – the possibilities are endless.  Jalapenos would be a good substitute for the green chiles.  So would sun-dried tomatoes.  You can also turn this dish into macaroni and cheese simply by substituting cooked macaroni for the potatoes (layer in the same method as described for the potatoes).

5 Responses to “Hatch Potatoes Au Gratin”

  1. sue on April 14, 2009 12:42 pm

    Try some pork chops with this, dip them in seasoned salt (I like Emeril’s Essence) and flour, brown them in oil lightly, then put on top of the potatoes and bake for 30-40 minutes. MMMM mmmm.

  2. grue on April 15, 2009 11:12 am

    You must have frozen some Hatch chilies – I tried to find some a few days ago but couldn’t. They must be out of season. If you did, I’m not surprised. You’re so smart.

  3. blue on April 15, 2009 12:07 pm

    Yes indeed. They are seasonal so once a year I buy two cases (about 40 lbs) and freeze them to feed my addiction!

  4. grue on April 15, 2009 12:16 pm

    Topic for an article: In Season and why you should care. Include data about in-season times for things you care about. I tried to find a central place on the internet with all this information a few days ago, but couldn’t find anything. At the time, I had hatch chilies, blueberries, mangos, and strawberries on my mind.

  5. sue on April 15, 2009 3:25 pm

    I have been able to find frozen Hatch chilies (chopped)at several locations in my home town. They are much better than canned green chilies, but do not have the full smoky flavor of the fresh roasted chilies we find in the fall in the parking lots of super markets.

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