Monday, April 25, 2011

Potato Gratin with Haricots Verts and Ham

Haricots verts are the slender, French counterpart of American green beans.  They add a delicious touch to this lovely springtime gratin.  The gratin itself is hearty enough to be the main course - just add a mixed green salad on the side.

  • 3 cups plain non-dairy milk
  • 2 pounds thinly sliced small red potatoes
  • 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 ounces trimmed haricots verts
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup chopped vegan ham (such as Yves Veggie)
  • 1 cup shredded vegan cheese*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. Combine the milk, potatoes, garlic, and bay leaves in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Note: be sure to stir carefully; because there are so many potato slices, you risk splashing if you do more than gently agitate the contents of the pan.

2. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes, then drain the potatoes in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 cup of the milk mixture.  Discard the bay leaves.

3. Meanwhile, cook the haricots verts in boiling water for 2 minutes; rinse with cold water, and drain.

4. Arrange half of the potato slices in a 13x9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Arrange the haricots verts and the chopped ham over the potatoes.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.  Top with the remaining potato slices, then sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.  Stir the nutmeg into the reserved milk mixture, and pour over the potatoes.

5. Cover with foil and make 3 (1-inch) slits in the foil with a knife.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes before dividing the gratin into 8 equal portions. 

*A note on the cheese.  I highly recommend the Gouda from Sheese for this recipe.  It captures the slightly nutty flavor of Gruyere, which was the cheese called for in the original version of this recipe.

Nutrition Info:
8 servings (1 portion), Calories 208 

Tasting Notes:
Cooking the potatoes in milk first resulted in a wonderfully buttery flavor, even though there was no butter at all in the dish.  The result was a creamy, decadent gratin, with a great blend of flavor between the potatoes, ham, and haricots verts.  The nutmeg in the sauce was subtle but delicious.  I scooped up the last bits of sauce from the plate with my finger - always a good sign.


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