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Beef and Potato Gratin

Today's recipe was inspired yet again on my willingness to try new things. So many times you hear how classic recipes shouldn't be bastardised by adding or subtracting ingredients rendering them inauthentic. Rubish I say! For all we know hundreds of years ago someone added something, to so called classic dish, and elevated it to new heights. Here I've done just that. A reimagined classic as I like to call it. I took the humble cottage pie and instead of a mashed potato topping, I took herb infused cream and Gruyère cheese potatoes, taking a cue from the French potato gratin, all with a small Portuguese accent ;)

It turned out amazing and will become a classic in it's own right. Happy cooking. XOXO

Beef and Potato Gratin (Cottage Pie Redux)

Serves 6

12 inch cast iron skillet or round oven proof dish

600 g. Minced beef (12% fat)

1 kg. Potatoes, peeled and sliced to 1/4 inch

2 Large onions, cut in half and sliced thin

4 Garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp. Red wine vinegar

60 ml. Extra virgin olive oil

1 Beef stock cube or 125ml. beef stock

250 ml. Red wine

600 ml. Heavy cream

200 g. Gruyére cheese grated

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp. Sweet paprika (pimentòn dulce)

Small bunch thyme

3 Bay leaves

1 tsp. red chilli flakes (optional)

Vegetable oil to fry potatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

(taste as you cook and after adding beef stock cubes and Worcestershire sauce as they are salty)

1. In a small sauce pan, heat heavy cream with 2 bay leaves and 6-8 thyme sprigs until it is scalding but not boiling. Take off the heat and allow herbs to infuse while you prepare rest of the recipe.

2. In a large frying pan, add olive oil and begin to sautée onions until they turn golden brown.

3. Add beef and stir fry along with the onions, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, red wine, paprika, 1 bay leaf, chilli flakes (if using), vinegar, beef stock and Worcestershire sauce.

Cook on low heat uncovered about 15 minutes or until liquid has reduced to almost nothing.

4. While the beef is cooking, drain potatoes, and dry thoroughly with a towel. Heat 3 to 4 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Heat oil to 180ºc. Fry potatoes in batches until soft but not browned. Drain on paper towel lined plate or tray until ready to use. They don't need to be kept warm.

5. After meat is cooked and liquid has reduced, transfer beef to skillet and discard bay leaf. Taste and adjust seasoning. Carefully arrange potatoes on top of meat in a circular fashion, letting each one slightly overlap the other.

Preheat oven to 180ºc.

6. Strain cream through a fine sieve into a bowl. Add half the grated cheese and pour all over potatoes. Sprinkle lightly with pepper. Sprinkle over remaining grated cheese.

Place in preheated oven and bake until bubbling and cheese melts to a lovely golden brown, about 20-25 mins.

Just before serving, add a few thyme sprigs for garnish and colour.

Enjoy ;) xoxo

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