Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Things You Cannot Make Without an Oven: Apple, Potato and Onion Gratin

I have really been trying to be a trouper about the kitchen. I've lived without a dishwasher before; I've lived without a disposal before; and I can work with limited prep space. But now, after two-ish months in the house, the thing that's really bringing me down is the broken oven. What I wouldn't give if I could roast some stuff right now. (Well, I know what I'd give. In fact, we signed with our contractor today and finally have a pretty concrete estimate of exactly what we'll give. Excuse me, I'm just going to take a chug off the nearest Maalox bottle.)

Yesterday I was browsing on my Pinterest food board trying to make a grocery list, and literally everything that looked good to me required an oven. It's fall. It is roasting time. It is just the WAY OF THINGS. UNNNGGHHH WANT OVEN. The fact that our new oven is actually sitting in our dining room for me to see every day, taunting me, probably isn't helping matters.

Okay then. Since I can't use my oven, I'm going to make a suggestion for what you should do with yours: gratin. Specifically, this gratin. I found this recipe a couple years ago after two things happened: 1) I went apple picking and therefore had a ton of apples, and 2) Eric's mom went south for the winter and gave us what was left in her pantry, which included a ton of potatoes and onions. So I went a'Googling for a recipe that would use things up, and this came up big.

- Do not be tempted to use dried thyme. I know, prepping fresh thyme is the worst, but it pays off here. 
- If you have a mandoline, break it out and you'll have the 6 1/2 pounds of produce uniformly sliced in no time. BUT. Use the safety grip, obviously. I say this to you as a person who has learned this lesson the extremely painful, fingerprint-shaving way. (Who's hungry now?!)
- You might feel lazy and not want to peel the potatoes and/or apples. I know because I have been that lazy person. You really should peel them; it's not the same otherwise.

So here we go. Make this gratin, and give your oven a little appreciative pat for me. If anyone needs me, I'll be blowing up a potato in my microwave.

Apple, Potato and Onion Gratin
Adapted from Bon Appétit

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, divided
2 pounds onions, sliced
2 tablespoons (packed) chopped fresh thyme
4 teaspoons salt, divided
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 teaspoons sugar

2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold, yellow Finn, or German Butterball potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
2 pounds tart apples (such as Granny Smith, Pippin, or Pink Lady), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

Preheat your oven to 400°F and think about how lucky you are to have a functional oven. Count your blessings; don't be shy- get all Oprah about it. Spray or butter a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, thyme, and 2 teaspoons salt and sauté until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; sauté until onions are tender and begin to color, about 8 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Add remaining 6 tablespoons butter (maybe less if you're feeling bad about all the butter, but it's sweater season so cut yourself a break), water, wine, and sugar to skillet; stir and swirl skillet to combine. Bring to a boil and then set aside to cool. 

Combine potatoes, apples, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and onion mixture in large bowl (seriously large, it's a lot of stuff) and toss gently to blend. Transfer to the baking dish and spread evenly. Cover the dish with parchment paper, then cover with foil, shiny side down. Bake gratin until potatoes are tender, about 55 minutes. Uncover and bake until top browns and juices bubble thickly, about 20 minutes longer. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Then savor that gratin, all up in your mouth. 

1 comment:

  1. oh dude, that is some cruel torture. is your microwave in operational form? it is in NO WAY the same thing, but you really can use that sucker to bake stuff. my mom (whom i hold in the highest of cooking esteem) has started baking squash in hers. my sister's grandma-in-law makes meatloaf with hers (i know.). but apparently, these things are possible. also: do not forget the wonder of the slow-cooker. and if all else fails? put that backyard of yours to work. build a mother-trucking fire and roast the hell out of something.