Gratin de Pommes de Terre et Viande

A delicious dish, Gratin de Pommes de Terre et Viande (gra-tan d’pohm d’tair ay vee-ahnd) makes a sustaining and econ omical supper. Serve with a tossed salad.

1 lb. potatoes

1½ teaspoons salt

1 garlic clove, halved

1½ oz. plus

1 teaspoon butter

8 oz. lean minced beef egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 medium-sized onions, sliced

4 oz. Cheddar cheese, grated

14 oz. canned peeled tomatoes

4 fl. oz. water

2 oz. tomato puree

2 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon dried thyme

First make the sauce. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the tomatoes with their can juice, the water, tomato puree, salt, pepper and thyme to the boil over moderate heat, stirring frequently. Re-duce the heat to low and simmer the sauce gently for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a large saucepan. Add just enough water to cover and 1 teaspoon of salt. Place the pan over moderately high heat and bring the water to the boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are tender but still firm.

Remove the pan from the heat and drain the potatoes in a colander. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into ½ inch thick slices and set aside.

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C). Rub the bottom and sides of a medium-sized baking dish with the garlic clove halves. Lightly grease the dish with the teaspoon of butter and set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, com-bine the minced beef, the egg, the remaining salt and the pepper and mix well to combine. Place the mixture on a flat board and, with your hands, divide the mixture into six pieces. Shape each piece into a small patty, approximately

½ inch thick.

In a large frying-pan, melt 1 ounce of the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the meat patties and cook them for 3 minutes on each side or until they are evenly browned. With a slotted spoon, remove the patties from the pan and keep them warm.

Add the onions to the fat in the pan and cook them, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until they are soft and translucent but not brown. Remove the pan from the heat.

Place one-half of the potato slices in the baking dish. Cover them with the beef patties, then with the oniens. Sprinkle on half of the grated cheese. Place the remaining potato slices on top. Remove the tomato sauce from the heat and pour it over the mixture.

Sprinkle the rest of the grated cheese on top of the sauce. Cut the remaining butter into small pieces and dot them on top. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven and serve at once.

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