The French term, “pommes boulangere” simply means “potatoes from the baker”. It is a lovely baked potato-based dish with a little story behind it. Centuries ago, when homes in rural France were not equipped with ovens, women still wanted to present baked dishes to their families. For Sunday lunches, they prepared potato-based casseroles in their homes. On their way to church, along with a piece of lamb they took their casseroles to the local baker’s. While they attended the service, the meal was baking in the shop’s oven. When the service was over, they just picked up their dishes and soon enough, they could serve roast lamb surrounded with “pommes boulangere” to their families for a Sunday treat.
It is important that “pommes boulangere” is made of very thinly sliced potatoes and onions. If it is prepared this way, the top layer of the potatoes will be crisp and slightly brown, while the lower layers will become thick and moist.
Non-vegetarians can enjoy this dish in the traditional way, served with roast meat. For vegetarians, it can be served with steamed or stir-fried French beans or mixed vegetables. Alternatively, it can be offered with a lovely salad. In my view, fresh spinach works particularly well with this dish.
I found the following recipe for 6 portions on the website of Forks over Knives. It was designed by an American chef, Ramses Bravo. In my opinion, it is lovely when it is freshly-baked, but perhaps the next day it is even better as the flavours get absorbed into the potatoes and the tastes mature a bit. Now, let’s see the recipe!
- 1 leek (thinly sliced)
- 1 yellow onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 stalk celery (thinly sliced)
- 2 shallots (thinly sliced)
- 2 tablespoons garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoon granulated onion
- 5 litre low-sodium vegetable broth (preferably home-made or if you used packaged, use organic vegetable stock)
- 9 medium potatoes (peeled and very thinly sliced)
- 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
- Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius. Place the leek, onion, celery, shallots, and garlic in a large dry saucepan over low to medium heat and cook until the onion starts to brown (approximately 5 minutes). Stir occasionally to avoid the ingredients sticking to the pan.
- Stir in the granulated garlic and granulated onion and cook for further 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and simmer. Cook until the liquid reduces to half.
- Add the potatoes and stir the ingredients until well combined. Decrease the heat to low and cook until the potatoes are translucent, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid the potatoes sticking together.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and thyme. Transfer to large baking dish (approximately 33 cm x 22 cm) and bake uncovered for about 25 minutes. The potatoes should turn tender in the dish and the top layer of them should brown slightly.