Where are you guys? You both have been too silent lately…tremendously busy, eh? But I have again started my cooking spree 🙂 and the latest was Braised Bacon and Silverbeet with Gratin Dauphinoise. I learned about Silverbeet first from my German family, the Oppolds – Erik, Alexa, Leo and Marta (an awesome bunch of foodies who not only adopted me in their love-filled household but also introduced me to the German Cuisine and many new vegetables/herbs). With a taste somewhat similar to spinach, it belongs to the beetroot family and has highly nutritious leaves. Do you know about this leafy veggie? Do you think any of the saags that we get in India, resembles this? The Gratin Dauphinoise is a French dish that uses the technique of baking or broiling ingredients topped with cheese, butter or breadcrumbs till a golden crust develops. It was created in the French region of Dauphiné where thinly sliced potatoes were layered with milk, cream, cheese and herbs in a garlic rubbed dish. Now you would ask how is it different from a Potato Au Gratin. The difference lies in the fact that the latter has breadcrumbs in it and is a bit softer/mushier than the former which is more crusty on the top due to the cheese. Besides gratins are made in deep pie dishes or casseroles where as a Dauphinoise only has 2-3 layers and can be cut into pieces to be served as savory.
Without much ado, I will proceed with the recipes ample for 4 people.
Braised Bacon and Silverbeet
250gms Bacon Rashers/cubes
500 gms Silverbeet or any green leafy vegetable that can be cooked like savoy cabbage
100 gms Sour Cream or 2 tbsp sour curd mixed with 2 tbsp cream
2-3 pinch of Nutmeg powder
1 large Onion
2 cloves of Garlic
Salt and black pepper to taste
First, wash and chop the silverbeet. In a pan, throw in the bacon and saute till crispy and golden brown. You don’t need to put oil in the pan as the bacon itself releases a lot of fat. Add in chopped onions and garlic. When the onions have softened, add the chopped silverbeet, 1 tsp of salt and cover to cook on medium heat. Please be careful while using the salt in this as the bacon is already salty. Once the leaves are cooked till a point that some crunch is left, add the sour cream, black pepper and the nutmeg powder. Stir well for 2-3 minutes, check the seasoning and take off the flame.
4 big Potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices
1 shallot or 1/2 red onion finely chopped
1 big clove of Garlic (bruised)
Few Thyme sprigs
1 cup milk
1 tbsp cream
3/4 cup Grated Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
In a saucepan, pour in the milk, the cream, thyme and onion/shallots. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Take a shallow baking tin/dish, brush it with the bruised garlic thoroughly and put a layer of the potato slices (retain the large and well cut slices for the top layer). With a ladle, pour half of the milk mixture over the potatoes, enough to cover them. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and half of the cheese. Top this with another layer of potato slices, and the milk mix. Then bake at 160 degrees in a pre-heated oven for 45 minutes or till a fork goes smoothly through the potato layers. The milk would start curdling and you may think that you would be left with a mushy bake. But don’t worry, take the dish out, sprinkle it with rest of the cheese and bake for another 15 minutes or till the whole thing is set and the top looks crusty and golden brown!!
Arrange the Braised Bacon and Silverbeet on a plate, cut a piece of the dauphinoise (didi you can present it in a better way I think) and serve with bread or fresh salad. It is not necessary to combine these two elements…so one can try new combinations..like Silverbeet/Gratin Dauphinoise with a lovely fish fillet or a chicken steak. One can also cook a vegetarian version of Silverbeet by adding mushrooms or ricotta/cottage cheese, just like our Palak Paneer 🙂
Write back both of you, missing the chatter 😦