Papas a la Crema

  • 3 large boiling potatoes
  • water for boiling
  • salt
  • 5 tablespoons sweet, unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, slightly crushed
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • ¼ cup of AP flour
  • 31/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt
  • pinch red pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • ¾ cup carrots, in a very small dice (bruniose)
  • 4-5 scallions, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Serves 6

1. Set the peeled potatoes, halved crosswise, in salted water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook 15 minutes or until you can pierce it easily with a paring knife. Drain and set aside.

2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan under medium low heat, and add the garlic cloves and the shallots, stirring until fragrant and soft, but not browned. Whisk in the flour, making sure to scrape the flour up from the corners of the saucepan (use a square tipped wooden spoon if necessary).

3. Cook the flour over low heat, constantly stirring. You do not want to color the roux at all. Gradually stir in the milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps forming. Once all the milk has been incorporated, add the bay leaves, the salt, red pepper and nutmeg. You will have to continue stirring the béchamel for about 15-20 minutes, when the sauce becomes glossy and thickens, and has no “raw” flour taste.

4. Add the carrots, cooking for about 3-4 minutes, and then add the scallions. Butter an ovenproof casserole, and place the potatoes, cut side down, in the casserole. Pour the sauce over the potatoes, and run under a hot broiler until bubbly and brown.



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