Monday, January 26, 2015

Scalloped Yukon Potatoes with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto & Cheese

Scalloped Yukon Potatoes with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto & Cheese
Serves: 8 
Difficulty: Moderate
Vegetarian option

Scalloped Yukon Potatoes with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto & Cheese
Before you say “Ack! Too fattening!” and move on – these are relatively healthy scalloped potatoes made with broth, no cream or milk, and get extra flavor from the sun-dried tomato pesto. Take the chill off any blustery day and make something special to accompany meat entrees.  They are a fabulous side dish to serve with roast chicken, grilled pork chops or lamb chops. Unlike some other potato varietals, the Yukon Gold can stand up to both dry heat and wet heat-cooking methods. Its moist flesh and sweet flavor make it ideal for boiling, baking and frying but these potatoes will also withstand grilling, pan frying, and roasting.

Yukon Gold is a large variety of potato most distinctly characterized by its thin, smooth eye-free skin and yellow tinged flesh. Yellow potatoes were common in Europe and South America. In fact, they are actually considered the norm in most countries outside North America, which resulted in immigrant demand for similar potatoes. 
Yukon Potatoes!
This untapped market was begging for an enhanced, disease-resistant gold variety, which could be easily grown in North America. We have Canada’s potato-breeding program at University of Guelph to thank for the Yukon Gold. Researchers spent years experimenting, finally achieving success by cross-breeding a North American white potato with a wild South American yellow-fleshed variety resulting in the Yukon Gold potato.
  • 4 C Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
  • Water, boiling
  • Kosher Salt
  • Butter
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1½ C sun-dried tomato pesto, recipe below (if store purchased, drain)
  • ¼ C basil, chopped or 1 Tb chopped fresh marjoram
  • 3 C grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 C rich chicken or vegetable stock, heated to boiling
  • 2 Tb freshly chopped parsley 

Sun-dried tomato pesto:
  • 2 C sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
  • 1 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ C extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ C packed fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ C packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

 To make Gratin:
Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Cut peeled potatoes into thin round about 1/8” thick slices. A mandolin, if available, makes this quite easy, but a sharp knife will also do the trick. Cook briefly in a pot of boiling water with salt until al dente, about 4-5 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. Let dry 5-10 minutes.

Slicing the potatoes with a mandolin is the easiest way to do this

In a buttered casserole dish, layer half the potatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, top with half of pesto, then half of basil or marjoram and half of cheese. Repeat using remainder of ingredients.
Potatoes layered with pesto
Ready for the oven

Boil stock, pour over casserole and cover with foil. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes until cheese is bubbling and starting to brown. Let sit 10 minutes. Serve hot, sprinkled with parsley. You and your guests will love it!

Sun-dried tomato pesto:
Process all pesto ingredients in a food processor fitted with a metal blade until the mixture forms a coarse paste. The pesto can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to a month.
Close up of pesto to show its color and consistency


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