We used to frequent a restaurant in Fort Worth called The Reata. It was on the 35th floor of the Bank One building, but moved to a ground-level location in 2000 after a tornado visited and tried to order. Almost everything in the building shifted and the owners decided not to push their luck, so they moved.
The high-rise restaurant was wonderful. You could look out onto Fort Worth as well as most of North Texas while enjoying Grady Spears’s ingenious cowboy-inspired menu. One of the dishes we enjoyed so much was his Dutch Oven Potatoes. There are layers of almost transparent thinly-sliced potatoes, filled with cheese and tangy fruit and held together with cream. Awesomely simple and reminiscent of au gratin potatoes…but better.
Here’s a picture of it being put together by layers; potatoes, parmesan cheese, fruit, salt and pepper, and cream. I used cranberries to celebrate the season, but you could use any chopped dried fruit.
These potatoes are so luscious and creamy for being so easy to throw together. If you serve them as a side, it would probably be good for 9-10 servings. I cut a bigger piece to take the photos and Bret helped me out by cleaning the plate. Sparkling clean. None left for the dog to pre-wash.
I highly recommend this dish for your holiday get togethers. You would be a very popular person. Really.
Here’s a photo after it cooled and firmed up a bit. Nice layers.
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter , plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 lb baking potatoes (like russets), scrubbed but not peeled
- 1/2 C grated Parmesan
- 1 1/2 to 2 C. dried fruit mix (I used dried cranberries)
- 2 C heavy cream
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8x8 inch dish with 1 tbsp. of the butter. Wash the potatoes and pat them dry. Thinly slice them with a mandolin, about at the 1/16th inch mark. Layer 1/4 of the sliced potatoes into the baking dish, making 2 thin layers of potatoes overlapping. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the Parmesan cheese, 1/3rd of the fruit, salt, pepper and pour 1/2 cup of the cream on the layer. Layer 3 more times (total of 4 potato layers), ending with potatoes on the top. Top the potatoes with the remaining cream and the 3 tablespoons of butter cut into small pieces. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.
Cover the pan with foil and bake for 2 hours. Uncover the pan and bake for an additional 15 minutes until lightly browned on top. For a darker brown, place the potatoes under the broiler for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and let them sit on a rack for 15 minutes before serving. Cut into squares with a sharp knife.
Tips and Stuff : I only used about 1/2 tbsp. of butter to butter the dish. I used a bit more cheese on the layers - about 3 tsp. - because I wanted it cheesier. It worked. I sprinkled the fruit lightly on each layer - about 2 tablespoons. You can use all 2 cups if you want it tangier. You may find you only need about 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes for the layers. Don't forget to brown them under the broiler for a couple of minutes. It makes them wonderfully brown on top. Keep an eye on them, though, so the top won't burn.