Normally my go-to comfort food that incorporates cheese and carbs is a hearty mac and cheese. However, on a night when I was inspired to choose a different vehicle for creamy cheesiness, I decided to experiment with a traditional favorite – potatoes au gratin.
Now, I’ve consumed plenty of potatoes au gratin, and I’ve adored every rendition I’ve tasted. However, many are extremely decadent, incorporating heavy cream and massive amounts of full-fat cheese. While I love my comfort food, I also like to be comforted by the fact that I won’t need a whole day on the elliptical to work off my indulgence.
This version of the classic dish uses low-fat dairy and incorporates plenty of flavor from herbs and a vegetable stock to make it a lighter flavored, yet still hearty and cheesy side. Serve it alongside your favorite protein or spoon it solo into a bowl (with or without veggies) for a vegetarian dinner. Whether you eat it alone, prepare it for dinner with the family, or serve it at a get-together, this cheesy potato dish fulfills that comfort food craving.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 ⅔ cups light sour cream
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Salt to taste (wait until after combining all ingredients in sauce to avoid over-salting)
- 4 pounds of potatoes, sliced approximately ¼ inch thick
- 2 1/2 cups low fat sharp cheddar cheese
- Cooking spray
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Rinse and slice potatoes.
- Make a roux by melting the butter and whisking in flour.
- Turn heat to low on stovetop.
- Add sour cream and mix until until smooth.
- Add thyme, parsley and pepper.
- Add vegetable stock and mix until smooth.
- Layer potatoes in an oven-safe pan or dish that has been coated in cooking spray. After each layer, smother with the sour cream sauce and ⅓ of the cheddar.
- Bake, covered for 30 minutes. Then, remove foil, add ½ cup more cheese on top, and put back in oven for an additional 35 minutes.
- Do not rinse and slice potatoes well ahead of time - they will oxidize, turn an unappealing color and potentially change in texture as well.