Improve this potato recipe.

I braved the elements the other day and dug some Jerusalem Artichokes from my allotment; I decided to use them along with some potatoes, so I did this:

Butter a casserole dish
Add a layer of sliced potatoes (maybe 3mm slices)
Add a layer of shaved parsnip (shaved thinly with a vegetable peeler)
Add a layer of shaved artichoke (ditto)
Sprinkle of grated cheddar
repeat layers x 3
Add a cup and a half of milk
Cover and bake in a hot oven until tender, then take the lid off and bake/grill until the top goes crispy and golden.

It was really great as the potato component of a meal and everyone loved it, but I want to work it into something truly amazing - I’m thinking about adding a little garlic and herbs.

Any suggestions? What would you do to this basic recipe to make it really special?

The obvious enhancement would be to use cream instead of milk. More fat = more yummy goodness. Warm up the cream in a saucepan and whisk in whatever cheese you’re using to make a sauce rather than layers. Unless you want layers that is.

I’d also experiment with different cheeses. Herbed or garlicy goat cheese comes to mind. A smoked cheese might be nice as well.

Garlic would definitely be wonderful in this dish. I’d also consider working sour cream into the mixture. And maybe green onion.

Mushrooms.

Sauteed mushrooms and garlic, in some butter or duck fat. Duck fat is perfect with potatoes. Oh, and do the cream thing. And then jog or something.

I’d use these 3 cheeses: cheddar, gruyere and provolone. Equal amounts, grated.

Next, sautee 1 diced onion in a skillet with 2-3 T. butter until transluscent, and then throw in 2 cloves of fresh minced garlic. Add sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Add this to your mixture.

Herb/spicewise, you could consider marjoram, rosemary, or tarragon. Parseley as a garnish.

What kind of potatoes are you using?

Definitely Garlic. Lots of Black Pepper and maybe some Thyme?

That is a very clever recipe and I would advise caution. Garlic is I fancy to big a taste for artichokes - I never use them together.

You obviously lack anything of the onion/garlic family. I’d pick the smarter brother of the onion - the leek. Milder and more subtle and a dab hand at cooperating with bacon and chicken. Slivers of fennel will work well (check for taste you may want little or none).

Herbs and the like should be added to the fluid you pour over and tasted. I would recommend cinammon or nutmeg (not much) and chervil for a green herb. French seeded mustard and a little beer works well. A splash of sour cream will thicken it a little.

With bacon and/or chicken shredded through it you will have a mean snack.

In general terms 3 cheeses are better than one.
Duck fat is a gift from God for sauteeing.

Take care, that’s a delicate little flower. I do something similar (with what I said above) but never thought of artichoke. Maybe zuchini flowers will be next.

I’ll just add that I used to cook my casseroles like you do but discovered by fluke that they are usually better if the potato is par-boiled first and the cooking time reduced. The other vegetables are fresher and the sauce seems lighter.

I second the use of leek over onion, if it’s available. I also like the shallot. Mmmm…bacon. Maybe you could serve them in little pastry shells on New Year’s Eve? Or maybe make puff pastry out of this wonderful concoction.

Are we beginning to talk pie…mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Mmmmmmm.

Great suggestions so far, keep 'em coming.

I have some duck fat from our Christmas roast - perhaps I’ll grease the dish with it.

I also have some cooked chicken wings that I could shred the meat from and add in layers.

Leeks would be good as the parsnip and artichoke both have a sweetness that would be set off nicely by the tang of a little leek.

Perhaps only a tiny touch of garlic.

I like the nutmeg suggestion - I love the stuff but I seldom get to eat it as my wife has adverse reactions to it (actually, I think it’s that she’s hypersensitive to Sulphur Dioxide, which is used to preserve whole nutmegs), but she is away for a few days.
What about roasted red peppers (where you burn them with a flame, then put them in a plastic bag to sweat, then rub the charred skin away)?

I’m aware that adding too great a diversity of ingredients will spoil the dish - maybe the red peppers would be better suited to the idea of serving it in pastry.

I’d go with thin-sliced celery in with the middle layer. Then, chopped fresh rosemary on top, with a wee bit of curry powder.

Onion and garlic both would really add.

Careful with the rosemary. While I love it on roasted potatoes, you’ve got some subtle flavors at work here with the artichoke. I would suggest a small amount of fresh thyme leaves, particularly if you decide to add chicken to the dish.

Another great option would be fennel.

If you want something milder than onions or garlic, but stronger than leek, you might consider shallots. Maybe even carmelize some thinly-sliced shallots in butter, then add a layer of them to your dish.

For herbs, I am a fan of rosemary with potatoes. Used sparingly, you could add that wonderful flavor without overwhelming your artichoke.

You might also consider replacing the cheddar with asiago, or (if you’re feeling bold) just straight-up adding asiago to your recipe. I have a recipe for asiago potatoes (made with baby red steamers) that is excellent – the flavor blends very well with potato and herbs.

Skip the parsnips and the artichokes. Get rid of the milk. Use cheddar cheese. . .oops that’s just augrautin potatoes. . .In a Homer Simpson voice: “Uhmmmmm Au Grautin Potatoes!”

Add leek, bacon, rosemary. Use cream instead of milk, or substitute the milk and cheese for Mexican Velveeta. OW! STOP THAT!

If garlic is too strong to add with the artichokes, would pre-roasted garlic work? I often throw a few garlics into a roasting pan with a little oil to roast (in their skins) and then squeeze out the soft mush that results from an hours baking. It is very, very mild and utterly fantastic, I use it like butter on toast. Could that work, squeezed into the cream and stirred before being added? Or would it still be too overpowering?