The French are renowned for knowing their way around a potato and French cuisine offers a variety of delicious potato dishes (Read more). From Pommes Anna to Potage Parmentier to Truffade. But there are also the more familiar Gratin Dauphinois and Frites or French fries as we know them.
Try our version for a delightful potato and turnip dauphinois. (You can also use sweet potato instead of turnips if you can’t find them.) It is creamy and warming and lovely as a side dish to a braai or any kind of roast. Or try it on its own for lunch with a glass of 2018 La Motte Chardonnay!
Potato and Turnip Dauphinoise Recipe
Serves 8 to 10
At the end of the fifteen century, when the Spanish brought the first potatoes from America to Europe, many people refuse to eat them because they belonged to the same family as the deadly nightshade. However in the nineteenth century potatoes replaced turnips as the most popular vegetable in Europe. The first potatoes at the Cape were planted during Jan van Riebeeck’s time.
1 cup (250 ml) honey
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 cups (1 litre) fresh cream
4 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1 tsp (5 ml) black peppercorns
Butter or lamb’s fat
6 large turnips, peeled and thinly sliced (or sweet potatoes)
6 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup (250 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup (125 ml) fresh breadcrumbs, for topping
½ cup (125 ml) grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
(Optional: diced bacon, sautéed and sprinkled in between layers)
Place the honey and rosemary in a saucepan and cook until the honey starts to caramelise.
Add the cream, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave in a warm place to infuse for one hour. Strain through a sieve.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease an ovenproof dish with butter or lamb’s fat.
Place the layer of turnips in the ovenproof dish, followed by a layer of potatoes. Top with a layer of Parmesan and garlic and season with salt and pepper.
Repeat this process until you’ve used all the turnips, potatoes and cheese. Pour the cream sauce over. Place a piece of greaseproof paper on the surface of the dauphinoise and place in the oven. Bake until the turnips and potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove the paper and return to the oven until the sauce has reduced by three-quarters and the dauphinoise is golden brown.
Sprinkle with a mixture of breadcrumbs and cheese and return to the hot oven to gratinate.
For restaurant style, individual portions: Leave to cool for hours. Place a weight on top and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before use. Cut into squares, sprinkle with a mixture of breadcrumbs and cheese and place in a hot oven to gratinate.
Chef’s suggestion: Serve with roasted venison, pickled red cabbage and a Shiraz jus.