Saturday, 10 December 2011

The Twelve Posts of Christmas: Vegan Potatoes Dauphinoise

These potatoes are the perfect comfort food on their own, not to mention going brilliantly with a vegie roast. My mum makes a similar version of these which we always called scalloped Christmas potatoes, although she never cooked the potatoes in milk first. She would finish the top of this incredibly cheesy dish with parsley and paprika for Christmas colours. There was always a fight, especially with my Dad and sister Rachel, as to who got the biggest serve, and who could have seconds. No such thing as leftover potatoes in out house! I never thought there could be a creamy enough vegan version of these, as all the other recipes I've tried involve making a sauce from tofu, which I find goes a bit grainy. So this is my version, made with coconut cream, which I find just as satisfying as the dairy version. The coconut can't be tasted when the potatoes are cooked, by the way! Allow at least two good sized spuds per person for a generous serve.

8 medium sized potatoes
1 can coconut cream
200 ml water or soymilk/ricemilk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 brown onions
1 large garlic clove - if you like garlic, have two!
2 tsp nutritional yeast
ground black pepper
1 log cheezly cheddar or other vegan cheese of your choice
vegan margarine

Wash and peel potatoes and slice thinly - I used my mandolin which makes short work of this, but a sharp knife is fine too! Drop into a basin of cold water if it takes you a while to slice, or if you are doing a large batch. Drain well when you are ready to use.
Chop onion.
Grate cheese.
Using a blender, blend half the coconut cream, and half the water with garlic, Dijon mustard, ground black pepper to taste, and nutritional yeast.
I use a heavy bottomed iron casserole dish that can go from stove top to oven, but if you don't have one, use a saucepan for this next step, and then transfer to an oven dish.
Put potatoes in pot with chopped onion, and then pour blended mixture over the top to cover. Cook gently on medium heat until about half the liquid is absorbed, or the potatoes have softened (not cooked, just softened they shouldn't fall apart!
Mix the remaining liquid, and pour over potatoes. Add two thirds of the cheese, and turn through potatoes gently.

Cover with foil or a lid and place in oven on 180C for about 45 minutes. Check to see if the potatoes are fully cooked, and liquid level. the potatoes should not be dry, they should be saucy, and move around a little bit. Remove the foil or lid, and then dab blobs of vegan margarine over top of potatoes. Sprinkle remaining cheese over, and add paprika and parsley if desired. Place back in oven for 10 -15 minutes until top is golden.

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