Musical pairing – Gimme The Good Stuff by Trisha Yearwood
Will you do me a favor and just make these today? I mean like really, today? Because if you don’t, you’ll be one sorry person when the day comes that you actually do make these ever-so-cheesy, tender, melt-in-your-mouth potatoes . . . with pimento . . . because then you’ll become aware of the error of your ways by waiting so long . . . and I really don’t want to say ‘I told you so’ but . . . I might . . . and then I’d have to ask for forgiveness . . .
I sure wish I could say that my mother made these potatoes for me when we lived in the little house on Ankeny street, but unfortunately I can’t; the closest thing I ever ate with pimento in it was a cheese spread one stuffed into celery. My palate wasn’t as refined then as it is now (said completely tongue-in-cheek with an added eye roll) and I thought pimento was absolutely the grossest thing ever created!
But my mother made all sorts of wonderful potatoes that I dearly, dearly loved . . . trouble is, I’ve never met a potato I didn’t like . . . wait. That’s not quite true. Because I abhor what I call ‘plastic spuds’ – you know, the ‘art-ih-fish-ull’ ones? Nope. Not a fan of those a’tall. But I do enjoy real potatoes baked with butter, baked with butter and sour cream, baked with butter, sour cream and broccoli, baked with butter, sour cream, broccoli, bacon . . . and cheese . . . mashed potatoes, potatoes smashed and whipped with milk, whipped with cream, whipped with cream and chives . . . you see my problem?
So I guess you could say that I’m somewhat of a potato aficionado . . . and when I tell you that you should make these pronto, you should listen. Unless of course you don’t like potatoes in which case you can stop reading now and go about your business . . .
PIMENTO-CHEESE POTATO GRATIN
Teensy-Weensy Adapted from Lee Bros, Simple, Fresh, Southern
- 3 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- 1-1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 3 shallots, finely diced, (should equal just slightly less than ½ cup)
- ¼ teaspoon crushed dried red chile flakes
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 9-ounces peppadew peppers, torn into flat chunks – plus 2 Tablespoons liquid from the jar
- 2 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
- Heat oven to 375 degrees with racks positioned in the middle and top third of the oven
- Coat an 8X8 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside
- Place a steamer insert into stockpot and fill with water to just touch the bottom of the steamer insert. Add potatoes and steam for about 10 minutes or until tender but not mushy
- Remove from steamer and set aside
- Combine the cream, shallots, chile flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper and 2 tablespoons of the peppadew liquid in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the chile flakes begin to stain the cream – about 2-3 minutes
- Add half of the cheese, stir until it melts – off heat
- Layer roughly one-third of the potatoes into baking dish, overlapping slightly so they fit in an even layer
- Scatter half of the torn peppers on top of the potatoes; repeat until all peppers and potatoes have been used. Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes and peppers, shake the dish just a bit to distribute the liquid throughout. Cover with foil and bake on the middle rack for about 20 minutes.
- Remove foil, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and place the dish, uncovered, on the top oven rack; bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and gently browned on top. Serve immediately
© 2011, Debra. All rights reserved.