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Today I want to share with you the ultimate easy French side dish I usually serve alongside roasted chicken or duck legs, or seared duck breasts and some seasonal greens: Boulangère Potatoes.
This is a totally simple, no-fuss version of the classic recipe I’ve nabbed off of my mother which she’s been making for as long as I can remember; it is easily adaptable, much healthier than the original (Boulangère Potatoes already being even healthier than it’s more indulgent cousin, the Dauphinoise Potatoes I’ll be whipping up to go with tonights Valentine’s Day steaks, Felicity Cloake’s recipe always) it is also great for making it ahead. A favourite of both my father and J, you know this recipe is both a total keeper and an absolute crowd-pleaser.
Now, I’ve been cooking on and for the internet long enough to know that I need to include a detailed, step-by-step recipe at the bottom of this post, because it is what most of you are here for. So I’ve included one.
But please don’t use it.
I certainly have never really followed a recipe when making Boulangère Potatoes for countless dinners at home, my mother doesn’t, and I’m pretty sure your average French grandmère doesn’t either. Instead, to suit whatever dish you’ve got, to serve however many people you’ve got to feed do the following:
Butter the dish.
Peel and slice a small onion into thin half moons.
Peel and slice a large potato.
Layer potato into the dish, followed by a few pieces of onion, season with salt and pepper, and do it again.
Peel another potato when you need to, and keep going until you’ve finished the onion, run out of potato and filled the dish.
Pour over hot stock until you’ve reached the level of just below the potatoes.
Dot the top with butter, season again and cover with foil.
Bake until the potatoes are only just tender.
Remove the foil, and continue to bake until you have a golden top.
It really is that simple!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a mandoline to make this recipe?
No! And I actually think getting perfectly thin and even potato slices would actually take away from the rustic appeal of this wonderful dish. All you need is a good sharp knife, a vegetable peeler and a few minutes!
What sort of stock should I use?
I’ve seen traditional recipes using chicken, beef, veal, vegetable… pretty much any stock you might have on hand and that is how you should see this recipe: adaptable to what you have in the kitchen at the time. Personally, I usually have a stash of homemade chicken stock in the fridge so I often use that, but my mother swears by using a beef stock cube for an extra boost of flavour.
This classic French side dish of Boulangère Potatoes is so simple to make with just a handful of ingredients – perfect to serve alongside roasted meats and veg for an elevated weeknight dinner.
1 small brown onion, or 1/2 a large one
450g (1 lb) potatoes
freshly ground sea salt & black pepper
300ml (1 1/4 cups) beef, chicken or vegetable stock
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (390F) and butter a medium baking dish.
Peel and thinly slice the onion and the potatoes.
Layer the potatoes, then a little onion, then some seasoning until you’ve run out of everything and the dish is filled.
Pour over the stock – it should reach to just below the potatoes – if not, add a little more or a little water from the kettle. Dot the top of the potatoes generously with more butter and season again.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes; the potatoes should be just starting to become tender.
bake for another 45 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the top has crisped.
Leftovers re-heat very well in the same dish the next day.
Keywords: potatoes, potato gratin, french food, french recipes, french potatoes, side dish, boulangère potatoes
I'm a food writer living in London and the English Countryside. Welcome to my online diary where I share easy, weeknight recipes, foodie travel diaries and some of the best places I've eaten out recently.
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