Gratin de Pomme de Terre et Saucisson (Potato and Sausage Gratin)

I am kind of superstitious and I let my imagination run wild. The other day I realized that Gratin de Pomme de Terre et Saucisson is the 13th recipe I am posting from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I certainly thought this recipe was unlucky recipe number 13 for me at first.

I couldn’t make Gratin de Pomme de Terre et Saucisson work as written. Second, success occurred only after the third time I tried making this recipe. Third, my husband told me he was sick of potatoes!

As I prepared and cooked Gratin de Pomme de Terre et Saucisson for the third time, my husband and stepson removed the iron fence and lamp posts from our front yard. Off and on my husband turned off the power. I asked him not to turn off the breaker for the range (it has it’s own separate breaker). He agreed until close to the end and I had to sit with a disappointed husband for 40 minutes while the gratin baked, which made me feel more unlucky. In the end, making this recipe at the very same time proved to be a stroke of luck. I will tell you what happened at the end.

1) 2/3 cup minced onions
2) 2 tablespoons butter
3) 1/2 pound diced raw potatoes

Note: Julia says to use potato slices instead of diced potatoes. I found that sliced potatoes didn’t work because the potatoes, when slightly cooked, stick together, creating more like a slightly cooked, mushy potato crust, which wasn’t tasty. I found this out on my first try.

4) 1 cup pre-cooked sausage

Note: Julia says to use uncooked polish sausage. I was afraid to use uncooked sausage because I didn’t think it would cook thoroughly on the top 25% of the oven in 40 minutes. I decided I knew better so I use pre-cooked sausage but that comes with its own problems (the second try) which I think I fixed on this third try.

5) 3 eggs
6) 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
7) 1/8 teaspoon pepper
8) 1/2 teaspoon salt
9) 1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese

Preparation and Cooking #1
1) Turn the oven on to 375 degrees. Make sure one of the racks is situated on the top 25% of the oven.
2) Butter a 3-4 cup baking dish, 1 1/2 – 2 inches deep, like an 8 inch pyrex pie plate. I used a 9 inch pyrex pie plate I bought at the grocery store for less than $10. This barely held all the ingredients but I didn’t do a great job of measuring so I might have overdone it a little on the potatoes.

Buttered Pie Plate

Preparation and Cooking #2 – Prepare the Potatoes
1) Dice the potatoes and place them in a pot with some salt to boil.
2) Let the potatoes boil for 6 minutes, then dump in a strainer.
3) In the alternative, you can do as Julia says and let the water boil with some salt and then add the potatoes when the water is boiling and let boil for 6 minutes. The problem I have with this is, I really don’t want to get scalded as the potatoes bounce into the boiling water.

Preparation and Cooking #3 – Prepare the Onions and Sausage
1) Add 2 tablespoons of butter to a wok or frying pan.
2) Dice the sausage and add to the pan. Turn on medium heat. Cooking the pre-cooked sausage is very important. The second time I prepared this recipe, I did not pre-cook the pre-cooked sausage and the gratin came out full of water and not very tasty.
3) While the sausage is cooking, dice the onions. Then throw them in the wok/frying pan.

Cooking Onions and Sausage

Preparation and Cooking #4 – Prepare the Sauce & Shred the Cheese
While the onions and potatoes are cooking, you have time to prepare the sauce and shred the cheese.
1) Crack the eggs into a medium/large bowl and whisk.
2) Add the pepper, whisk.
3) Add the salt, whisk.
4) Add the heavy cream. Whisk until everything is fully blended.

White Sauce

5) Shred the swiss cheese.

Preparation and Cooking #5 – Put it All Together
1) Put half the potatoes on the bottom of the pan.
2) Put the sausage/onion mixture on top of that.
3) Put the rest of the potatoes on top of the sausage/onion mixture.
4) Pour the sauce on top of the mixture. Make sure to shake your dish/pan so that the liquid goes all the way down to the bottom.
5) Add the cheese.
6) Bake for 35-40 minutes on the top 25% of the oven. The gratin is down when browned.

I made a stop motion video for the process above:

Just as I prepared to place the gratin in the oven, the boys finished removing the fence and Zach went back into his room to play video games. He immediately came out and went outside to tell his dad that the power on half of the house wasn’t working. This fact prompted my husband to want to turn off all the power to splice something or other.

Of course I told my husband that I was just about to put the gratin in the oven so he would have to wait. He came back in the house, frustrated and worried. I wasn’t worried. The refrigerator and everything else in the kitchen plus the air conditioning still worked (it was over 90 degrees outside at this point).

With no choice, my husband came into the house to take a break. He had to wait for some people to take the fence. Lucky for us, our neighbor had a friend who wanted the fence so they were going to come today to pick it up. A girl who came to help had a brother who was an electrician. The brother walked the girl through troubleshooting the problem over the phone and solved the problem! If I hadn’t made Gratin de Pomme de Terre et Saucisson, we probably would have had to call an electrician. This recipe ended up to be very lucky indeed!

Love, Ana

Gratin de Pomme de Terre et Saucisson


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