h1

Baker’s delight

June 22, 2010

How I love winter.

Well actually I don’t love winter, at all; I hate the cold. Ugh. Awful. But I do love winter food, specially the long-cooked, rich, stick-to-the-ribs decadent weekend variety.

And this potato bakey number, which I proudly invented on the weekend and then discovered to be an aeons-old classic called pommes boulangère, is my new favourite thing in the world. It’s got stock. It’s got spuds. My version’s got cream, and it’s got leek. If you can name one thing that’s not to love in this dish, I will personally come to your house and take it off your hands. It is also possibly the simplest potato gratin you’ll ever make, and your dinner guests will get down on their hands and knees and kiss your little toes for it.

I learn the origin of the name (‘baker’s potatoes’) from Damien Pignolet’s lovely book , French: “Tradition has it that one assembed the gratin at home and took it to the baker for cooking in the residual heat of the oven when the day’s baking was finished.”

Quantities and times are a little loose here and will depend on your oven,  the dish and the spuds, but the idea is that the spuds slowly absorb the creamy stock and brown to a lovely chewy crisp on top while remaining soft and creamy beneath.

Pommes boulangère a la Marrickville  (serves 4-6 greedy people)

  • 1kg potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups (ish) chicken stock
  • ½ cup thickened cream
  • salt & pepper
  • small sprig rosemary
  1. Layer the potatoes and leek & garlic mix in a shallow, oven-proof glass dish.
  2. Pour the stock and cream over the top, and push the rosemary sprig into the middle of the dish till hidden. The liquid should be just enough to come up to the top layer of potato – don’t drown them.
  3. Season (but be careful with the salt, depending on the saltiness of your stock as it’ll intensify as reduces).
  4. Cover with foil and bake in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and check whether spuds are too dry – add more stock and press the potatoes down into the creamy stock if needed.
  6. Return to the oven without the foil and bake for around 1 hour, or till golden on top, occasionally pressing the spuds into the liquid if necessary.

Remove the bubbling, golden, glistening joy of it from the oven, rest for a few minutes while you carve your roast lamb or chook and pour the wine, and serve hot from the dish at the table.  Then swoon.

5 comments

  1. Well, being in Canberra, I love winter. Mostly because I have to – there’s no choice around these parts. Now all I need is a vat of Pommes boulangère a la Marrickville and I’d be a happy man. A VERY happy man.


  2. Perfect winter fare. I wholeheartedly agree – all that delicious comfort food is the sole justification for the season. I can imagine slopping some of that fresh baker’s bread around the bottom of this baking dish too, just quietly…


  3. Good old Marrickville, it really is the cultural and culinary heart of the Universe, as far as I am concerned, plus a pretty respectable place into which getaway cars can disappear late in the night. Your decadently delicious spudtastic recipe does Marrickville proud, Charlotte.


  4. I’m swooning already and I haven’t even made it yet! Sounds fab.


  5. […] a very humble dish of Potato and Onion that had been cooked in the oven with Stock and Butter. The Boulangere actually comes from the origins of this dish in the bakeries of France. The bakers would put this […]



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: