Recipes, Salads & Sides, Vegetables

Saturday Night Dinner – Sides to Highlight

You were waiting for the cider braised pork recipe, weren’t you? Too bad! One more day to wait. I figured I’d build up the anticipation and share the main event and desserts last. So you’ll just have to continue reading. Serving a bunch of Irishmen (and women) potatoes were an obvious choice. I could have probably just served the gratin and been golden, but greens are important too! I try to follow the three part meal–one quarter protein, one quarter carbs, one half greens. Or sometimes it ends up being more like three quarters greens, of a variety. But enough chit chat, on to the recipes!

I’ve never made gratin potatoes before, but love eating them, so figured cooking them could be just as much fun. If you have a mandolin, they might even be easier than mashed potatoes. A little prep to start, then bake and serve. As for the green beans, I don’t know that I would advise cleaning 3lbs of green beans, but on the other hand, they’re an easy crowd pleaser. I’ve heard a lot of people say they don’t like Brussels sprouts or cabbage or *insert veggie here* but NEVER green beans. Plus they have bacon! How could you even go wrong. Organize and prep all of your ingredients the night before, then quickly saute right before dinner.

Sauteed Green Beans with Bacon and Shallots – Serves 8

  • 3lbs green beans, ends removed and cut in half if 3in or longer
  • 12oz bacon
  • 1 c shallots, minced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

THE DAY BEFORE, steam green beans (in batches if necessary) until tender. Store cooked beans in an air tight container in refrigerator. Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick frying pan or cast iron pan and cook bacon until crispy. Cool on plate covered with paper towels to soak up any extra grease. Reserve 2 tablespoons bacon grease (this can be kept in a small air tight container at room temperature). Once bacon has cooled, crumble or chop bacon and store in an air tight container.

THE NEXT DAY, bring beans to room temperature. Heat butter and bacon grease in a large skillet (or wok). Add shallots and cook until browned. Add green beans and saute until warm. Add bacon crumbles and mix well before serving.

Sinful Gratin Potatoes – Serves 8

  • 3 c cream
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 5lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/16″ thick with a mandolin
  • 1 1/2 c Gruyere, grated
  • 1/2 c Parmesan, freshly grated
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small saucepan, heat cream til warm, but not boiling. Remove from heat, add garlic and cover until cream returns to room temperature or is cool enough for you to stick your hand in. Discard garlic. Pour cream into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add potato slices to soak for 5 minutes. In the meantime combine both cheeses into a separate bowl and mix well.

Generously grease a 9×12 baking dish. Arrange potato slices to form a layer along the bottom of the pan, slightly overlapping slices. Try to retain as much cream as possible. Sprinkle with about 1/4 of the cheese mixture. Add another layer of potatoes, then cheese. Repeat until you have four layers of potatoes. Sprinkle the final layer with cheese. Bake in oven for 1 1/2 hours until potatoes are tender.

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