October's Cooking Club Challenge was hearty and a perfect example of comfort food during the cooler autumn months. The delicious recipe for Two Potato, Three Canadian Cheese Gratin, brought to you by Dairy Famers of Canada was clearly one that you all loved because this was one of our most popular challenges ever! It was so difficult for us to choose a winner because all of the submissions were seriously amazing.
Congratulations to Chef Elizabeth S for winning this month's Cooking Club Challenge!
Chef Elizabeth S: "Potatoes and cheese together...the ultimate comfort food. Keeping my vegetarian daughter in mind, I omitted the bacon from the recipe though as a concession to non-vegetarian family, cooked a few slices for garnish. Otherwise, I made the recipe as written. This was a really delicious take on scalloped potatoes and a great recipe to try for my first time participating in this challenge."
Chef Melissa J: “The dish was very rich and provided enough for our family, plus lunch leftovers for everyone. My husband isn't a huge fan of sweet potatoes, but in this dish he really enjoyed them.”
Chef Christine G: “I could pretty much live on potatoes and cheese so this recipe was perfect for me. I used tofu “bacon” since I’m a vegetarian (it’s good – I swear!). Recommendation – I wasn’t a huge fan of the thyme so would have preferred to use sage or paprika instead.”
Chef Carmy P: “Ok, so it's not a gratin....but the recipe I made was completely inspired by October's Cooking Club Challenge recipe.As soon as as I checked out the recipe, I thought of what it might taste like to combine sweet and regular potatoes to make gnocchi. I was sure that the other ingredients would be totally great as a sauce too. Well, the dish turned out terrific! My family thoroughly enjoyed it....hope you do too.”
Chef Patricia B: “I forgot to get a sweet potato at the market so it wasn't two potato but two root vegetables: potatoes and parsnip. While the cheese I used was Canadian, it wasn't cheddar or asiago. It was Monterey Jack and Havarti. Whatever cheese was used, it was delicious but a little rich.”
Chef Darryl J: “A great combination of ingredients that would be hard to go wrong with, especially topped with a gooey three cheese blend. It made for a great change from the usual potato scallop routine alongside a mid-week ham dinner.”
Chef Erin M: “Butternut squashes were in abundance at the farmer's market so I used them instead of sweet potatoes. I served this with sausages and home grown end-of-season tomatoes.”
Chef Samantha W: “I really enjoyed making this recipe! I put my own unique twist in it, of course. I followed the basic recipe but i added apples instead of sweet potatoes, mushrooms in my cream sauce and completly changed the cheeses. I used delicious Canadian marble and mozzarellla and added, straight from Calgary Alberta, a spicy garden vegetable cheese. I also cooked up some ham and asparagus to make the plate pop with colour and also make it a full meal. The taste in my rendition of this classic dish was amazing. The apples gave it such an amazing texture and really added a sweetness that was cut by the spicy cheese. I really enjoyed this dish.”
Chef Sarah R: “This month's Cooking Club Challenge was a winner at my house. I made individual gratins and each dish was practically licked clean! I loved the flavour that the leeks brought to the gratin and I'll be using them in many dishes from now on. And the smell of the gratin cooking in the oven was so amazing that I think I am going to make this dish again next weekend! I changed a few things, but left the recipe as shown for the most part. I wanted my gratin to have a little gooey stretch in it so I used mozzarella cheese in place of the gouda and I substituted Herbes de Provence for the dried thyme. Thanks for introducing my family to such a delicious dish, Dairy Farmers of Canada!”
Chef Marisa R: “Here is my cheese & potato casserole that instead of cheese on top I added bread crumbs, parmesan, drizzled with olive oil and topped with parsley and more leeks. Everything got very crispy and crunchy. The kids really loved it because the boys don't like sweet potatos/yams but with the cream and cheese added there were no complaints! Yay!”
Chef Monika I: “I decided to take up this challenge as I love to cook and find my creative juices flow in the kitchen. I experience a catharsis, releasing any emotional tension or fatigue I may be feeling. And I am feeling such with two kids at home under the age of 3. Keep me on my toes! I got excited when I saw the ingredients as I had everything at home at my fingertips! Well, not exactly as is in the recipe but items I could definitely substitute. I served this ooey gooey dish alongside a crispy green leaf lettuce salad, with slices of Macintosh apples and cucumber, sprinkled with pumpkin seeds, lightly dressed with a simple olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette.”
Chef Jayashree S: “With due respect to the original recipe I have made few changes to give the dish a more buttery texture. Instead of slicing the potatoes I have grated them, added little extra garlic, added cream cheese to the sweet potato and increased the whipping cream to bring moistness to the yellow potato. Panko gives the whole dish a different texture. I used smoked gouda to give a little depth in the flavor. We enjoyed our meal with baked chicken breast and a side salad of mixed green and vegetables. Hope my dish will stand up to your expectations.”
Chef Sandy T: “This is delicious! I've made similar recipes before but without the layering of leeks et al. Decided to add roasted garlic, a full head, instead of raw. Prefer fresh thyme over dry. We enjoyed it with rack of lamb and cauliflower. Purple is a difficult color to blend in. Tasty just the same. Perhaps not photo ready. Additions of crispy bacon made up for it. Can't lose with pork! A keeper!”
Chef Laura M: “After seeing the Cooking club challenge for October mentioned on Food Network Canada's Twitter feed I knew I had to try the recipe. I love potatoes in every form, but especially love making different potato gratins. I loved how this one had a Canadian flare & the subtle differences with the addition of leeks, sweet potatoes and dijon mustard. I finally got a chance to make the recipe when my son took a nap around dinner time yesterday! I used my food processor to cut up consistent potato slices. I made a few substitutes, including substituting milk and Greek yogurt for the cream. The substitutions worked well and were lighter in calories. Overall, the recipe was delicious because of the addition of the sweet potato, thyme and mustard. Those ingredients made the recipe stand out from other gratin recipes. It took me longer, double the time to make the recipe than the estimated 15 minutes. I would make the recipe again, except not that often since it is time consuming.”
Chef Katherine S: “This turned out fairly well despite the top layer of potatoes remaining slightly crisp. I doubled up on the leeks and garlic and, of course, the cheese! I used a mixture of pecorino, parmesan, old cheddar and gouda - super yummy! I also subbed in green onion for the chives as there weren't any nice ones at the store. And the tasting panel agreed that the bacon was a stellar addition to the dish. Luckily there are leftovers to enjoy for another night!”
by Souzan Michael