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Creamy Potato Gratin

Introduction

For any family dinner or special occasion, a comforting classic like Gratin of Pommes de Terre Crémeux (Creamy Potato Gratin) is the way to go. This luxurious dish, rooted in French cuisine, combines thinly sliced potatoes with a rich, creamy sauce, and a golden, cheesy crust. Whether you’re serving it as a side dish or the main event, this gratin will impress your guests with its delicious layers of flavor and comforting texture.

The Perfect Side Dish

This potato gratin pairs beautifully with a variety of main dishes. Serve it alongside roast chicken, beef tenderloin, or a succulent pork roast for a meal that is sure to satisfy. For a lighter option, pair it with a simple green salad dressed with a tangy vinaigrette to balance the richness of the gratin.

Gratin of Pommes de Terre Crémeux (Creamy Potato Gratin)

Servings: 6

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: a pinch of nutmeg

Directions

Step 1: Preheat the Oven

Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or nonstick spray and set it aside.

Step 2: Prepare the Potatoes

Peel and thinly slice the Yukon Gold potatoes. Aim for slices that are about 1/8-inch thick to ensure even cooking. A mandoline slicer can help achieve uniform slices quickly and safely.

Step 3: Make the Cream Mixture

In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream, whole milk, minced garlic, thyme leaves, salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg if using. Heat over medium heat until the mixture is warm but not boiling. This step infuses the cream with the flavors of garlic and thyme.

Step 4: Layer the Potatoes

Arrange half of the sliced potatoes in an even layer in the prepared baking dish. Pour half of the warm cream mixture over the potatoes, ensuring they are well-coated. Sprinkle half of the grated Gruyère and Parmesan cheese over the top.

Step 5: Repeat the Layers

Repeat the layering process with the remaining potatoes, cream mixture, and cheeses. Dot the top with small pieces of butter to help achieve a golden, crispy crust.

Step 6: Bake the Gratin

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

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Step 7: Rest and Serve

Allow the gratin to rest for 10 minutes before serving. This helps the creamy layers set and makes it easier to slice and serve.

Tips and Variations

Tips

  1. Uniform Slices: Using a mandoline slicer ensures uniform potato slices, which cook evenly and look beautiful in the finished dish.
  2. Infusing Flavors: Heating the cream mixture with garlic and thyme before adding it to the potatoes enhances the overall flavor.
  3. Resting Time: Letting the gratin rest before serving helps it firm up, making it easier to cut neat portions.

Variations

  1. Cheese Variations: While Gruyère and Parmesan are classic choices, you can experiment with other cheeses like Cheddar, Fontina, or Emmental for different flavor profiles.
  2. Herbs and Spices: Feel free to add other herbs like rosemary or sage, or spices like smoked paprika, to the cream mixture for a unique twist.
  3. Vegetable Additions: Incorporate thinly sliced vegetables like leeks, fennel, or even sautéed mushrooms between the layers of potatoes for added flavor and texture.

FAQs

Can I make this gratin ahead of time?

Yes, you can assemble the gratin a day ahead, cover it tightly with foil, and refrigerate it. When ready to bake, bring it to room temperature and bake as directed.

How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until warmed through.

Can I use a different type of potato?

Yukon Gold potatoes are preferred for their creamy texture, but you can also use Russet or Red potatoes. Just be aware that the texture may vary slightly.

Is it possible to make a lighter version?

For a lighter version, substitute the heavy cream with half-and-half or whole milk. You can also reduce the amount of cheese or use a lower-fat cheese alternative.

Can I freeze the gratin?

It’s best enjoyed fresh, but you can freeze it. After baking and cooling, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Freeze for up to one month. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

Conclusion

Gratin of Pommes de Terre Crémeux is a classic comfort dish that never fails to impress. Its rich, creamy layers and golden, cheesy crust make it a perfect choice for family dinners or special occasions. With a few simple ingredients and a little time in the kitchen, you can create a dish that brings warmth and joy to your table. Enjoy this timeless recipe and share it with your loved ones for many memorable meals to come.