Normally my go-to comfort food that incorporates cheese and carbs is a hearty mac and cheese (see this one). 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 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.