Pommes Boulangere.. smart lady, that baker’s wife

Each time that I make this simple dish there is, at the back of my mind, a nagging feeling that I have left out an ingredient. The recipe is not extensive in its demands which makes it even more surprising that I do indeed leave out the same one  on each occasion that I make it, which is often.pot_gratin_hpass_0032 Yesterday’s constituents are shown in the picture above, but missing from their company is the nagging element; a leek. I have never, to my knowledge, included the leek which the recipe specifies, yet have always added garlic which the recipe does not. The miracle of this recipe is that, with so few ingredients, it produces a dish of such deep flavours from meltingly soft layers of paper thin potatoes oozing with stock, herbs and wine topped with a hardly appreciable yet crunchy, cheese laden crust: which words make me realise that I have also left the cheese out of the still life, but never out of the preparation. The white wine and fresh thyme make a remarkable difference to the finished dish and should not be omitted.

We often eat this dish for supper with nothing but a green salad or, as was the case yesterday evening, with some roasted vegetables such as broccoli or Brussels sprouts ( it surprises me that spell check should demand a capital letter for such a humble vegetable as the sprout, and even more that I should acquiesce to its demand considering my opinion of brussels). At lunchtime today I was tempted by the remains of the pommes boulangere which were not at all shabby when paired with a glass of  a good red..

snack_lunch_0010 copy

Here’s the recipe which comes from Patricia Wells’ “Bistro Cooking” which is resident in my kitchen as it never gets back to the book shelves.  I should mention that, at variance with the recipe below,  I choose to grate Parmesan over the gratin before I put it in the oven, which accounts for the cheese crust that I mentioned earlier.


About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2013, Baking, Bistro, Cheese, Cookery Writers, Cooking, Cuisine bourgeoise, Digital photography, Drinks, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, Herbs and Spices, Kitchens, leeks, onions, Patricia Wells, Photography, pommes boulangere, potatoes, Recipes, sea salt, Thyme, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Wine, wine, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

97 Responses to Pommes Boulangere.. smart lady, that baker’s wife

  1. Misky says:

    I have leeks. I have leeks. And a stub of cheddar. This is going to cosy up with chops tonight. Merci!

  2. This will be divine if we get any potatoes on our farm share this week or next. I am hopeful, but I think the leek more likely.

  3. cecilia says:

    As you know, when cooking so simply it is all about choosing the very best ingredients.. I love my potatoes and am surprised that I have not made this gratin. Must remedy that very soon. c

  4. There’s something about having the aroma of food drift in the house. It’s often a welcoming scent, unless it burns. Then I could see it being a problem.

  5. Sheer perfection in an oven dish!

  6. Amanda says:

    Gorgeous photos. This looks delicious!

  7. Love the photo, love the recipe, love it all! Book marked for dinner this weekend. Cheers!

  8. Looks insanely good. I like her descriptions as well. Now I want a wood-fired bread oven. 🙂

  9. I will definitely be making this as I love both potatoes and leeks which seem to be aplenty here in Normandy. I meant to say yesterday, but never got back here, that it is always a delight to visit your blog. You have a way with words that tantalizes, exhilarates and energizes – it does that for me anyways. So thank you, always.

  10. margaret21 says:

    It’s a great dish, and one that I’ve never been able to get to the heights of oozy, creamy perfection that was its right back in the days when we lived in a house with an Aga. Now a wood fired bread oven could be even better….

  11. Mad Dog says:

    Thanks for reminding me – I may have to have these with pheasant tonight 😉

  12. I might be missing something, but I cannot find any mention of cheese in Ms Wells’ recipe. I am assuming that you are using something like Comté grated over the top before baking. This recipe sounds delicious, and a while I love Dauphinois, this looks like being even better.

  13. What a beautiful gratin. Almost like a pommes anna but easier. What great flavors. I love that you shared the photo of the recipe – there is nothing like a recipe in real print. Best – Shanna

  14. Sounds delicious just as it is, but adding cheese must take it to another place, especially when served alone. What cheese do you use – something really tasty or mild?

  15. I can see how you’d feel as if you’d forgotten an ingredient because I’m sure the recipe for stock has a whole list as well!

  16. Absolutely mind blowing – fantastic photos & I will have to give it a go!!!!! many, many thanks!

  17. mrsugarbears says:

    You really are an amazing photographer…the composition is perfect and the food has me salivating. Count down to dinner time.

  18. No cheese or cream? Guilt free potato recipe, thank you!

  19. lulu says:

    I would have trouble sharing this dish. Such comfort food and I would have a tendency to eat far more than I should. Love your first photo.

  20. Eha says:

    Simple ‘and’ wicked ? Oh simple since I have not had the tubers on my menu list for some three decades . .. . oh yes, I know . . .

  21. cococinelle says:

    I was going to make Gratin Dauphinois this weekend, I got purple vitelotte potatoes from my Bio veggies club…It’d be funny to mix potatoes colours. I think I’m going to try your recipe instead. Again, my mind goes ahead of me: “coco, you don’t have a mandoline to slice the taters….” Jamie Oliver gave me the answer: just use the thingie that you use to peel the potatoes.
    That’s a done deal.

  22. cococinelle says:

    PS: what is your idea of Brussel (or should I write brussel?) you tickled my curiosity!

  23. Oh I still have a bunch of leeks in the garden! This looks gorgeous. I have to make this. And I love how you set up the ingredients for the photo.

  24. Beautifully composed images, Roger!

  25. I’m making this one. There is something about your recipes I love. Always so simple to prepare, minimal ingredients, comforting and visually stimulating! Kind of like how you haven’t used leeks and continue using garlic..a bit of a rebellious move.

  26. I love your still life photograph, with or without the leeks. I promise not to omit the wine, in either the recipe or my glass!xx

  27. Comfort food at its best.

  28. EllaDee says:

    We make a basic version of this with a little cream & sliced onions, the much loved Aussie Potato Bake… but wine… we always have wine in the house, if not cream… 😉

  29. The gratin looks divine! We’ll have to see if we can whip up something similar here in Croatia. 🙂

  30. Pingback: Dansk Varm Kartoffelsalat (Warm Potato Salad) | The Chalk Hills Kitchen

  31. Pingback: Pommes Boulangere and How to Up My Game | Our Growing Paynes

  32. I will certainly try this… we have exactly two pounds of potatoes at the moment. A beautiful, classic presentation. Best – Shanna

  33. I’m making this tonight. I need to use up a leek that’s been sitting in my fridge for days and this sounds like a lovely way to use it 🙂 You make the dish sound so tempting…I’m hungry now!

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