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Potato 'n' tomato gratin

Make sure that you cut the potatoes into even, thick slices and be careful not to overcook them as well. The dish would be very unattractive if made with squashy, moist potatoes. They must be in whole slices and still slightly firm.

ingredients

serves 4
750 g (1 1/2 lb) waxy potatoes, sliced
300 ml (1/2 pint) milk
100 g (4 oz) Cheddar cheese, grated

tomato sauce

40 g (1 1/2 oz) margarine or butter
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tablespoon plain flour
400 g (14 oz) can tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and freshly ground black pepper

method

1. Make the tomato sauce: melt 25 g (1 oz) margarine in a small saucepan, add the onion and fry gently for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not allow the onion to brown. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

2. Add the tomatoes with their juice to the pan, stir in the sugar and oregano and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 20
minutes until the tomato sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally.

3. Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a saucepan with the milk and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring slowly to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 10-12 minutes. The potatoes should be tender when pierced with a fine skewer, but not beginning to break up. Drain thoroughly.

4. Grease the inside of a shallow 850
ml (1 1/2 pint) flameproof dish with remaining margarine, then arrange the potatoes in overlapping circles over the base.

5. Heat the grill to moderate. Taste and adjust seasoning of the tomato sauce. Pour over the potatoes and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Place the dish under the grill until the cheese topping is golden brown and bubbling. Serve the gratin very hot, straight from the dish.

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