Dic-tater Soup


Todays Dictator



1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 clove garlic, minced
4 medium potatoes, peeled, cubed (or 3 cups of yesterdays mashed)
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half
2 carrots, sliced thin
2 cups ham cubed (this is the dic part)
1 cup crumbled blue cheese, divided (4 oz)
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried lemon grass (if using fresh use double)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium high heat.

Add onion; cook 5 minutes or until soft. Add carrots and cook 2 minutes more.

Add garlic and lemon grass and cook 1 minute. Add potatoes; cook 5 minutes.

Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low; cover and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  If you use the mashed you don’t have cook as long.

Stir in half-and-half, 1/2 cup of the cheese, salt, pepper and basil..

(Soup can be made to this point up to 1 day ahead.) Before serving, sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese).

Nothing like frenched potatoes



2 pounds baking potato Russet or a Yukon Gold, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups (50 cl) whole milk
3 cloves of garlic crushed and minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 bay leaves
Freshly ground nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
2 cups  freshly grated  Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Place the sliced potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with the milk and 2 cups of water. Add the garlic, salt, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally so that the potatoes do not stick. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring from time to time, until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart, about 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer half of the potatoes to a large, 14- by 9- by 2-inch buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with the nutmeg, pepper, half the creme fraiche, and half the cheese. Cover with the remaining potatoes, and sprinkle again with nutmeg, pepper, and the remaining creme fraiche and cheese.

Bake, uncovered, until the gratin is crisp and golden on top, about 1 hour. Serve immediately.