I have tried making potatoes au gratin at least twenty times in my life. Each and every time, something goes wrong. The potatoes are too hard, the sauce isn't really sauce, it's a combination of watery liquid and chunks of melted cheese, or the top gets all burnt and dried out while I am trying to convince the potatoes to finish cooking.
Somehow, on Christmas afternoon, I finally got it right. It all started with a piece of "strong" Gruyere cheese that I picked up at Wegman's on Christmas Eve. When I first opened the cheese, I got a little bit nervous. The cheese reminded me of those cheese shops that you can smell from a block away when you are strolling through Paris - yes, some might describe the smell as a dirty sock sort of smell. Anyway... I decided to go for it. I have to say that I finally nailed the potato au gratin!
The trick was creating layers of thinly sliced potatoes, Papa Joe's Salt, and shredded Gruyere. I created three layers in an 8 x 8 inch baking dish, almost like a lasagna, and then poured a mixture of garlic, heavy cream and whole milk over the layers. The potatoes baked for a solid hour at 375° and then I let them rest for 30 minutes while I made the Brussells sprouts. The potatoes were amazing! Even Britt who is not a fan of potatoes, raved about them. If you aren't a fan of Gruyere, give it a try! You can also swap it out for a cheese you love. This recipe would be amazing with a nice sharp cheddar, or even with a milder Gruyere or swiss cheese.
I hope you get a chance to make this dish... the potatoes would honestly pair nicely with just about anything, and they are even yummy all by themselves! Enjoy!
Potatoes Au Gratin
- ½ tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 2 lbs potatoes, thinly sliced russet or other waxy potato good
- 5-6 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded you can swap for another cheese but I wouldn't recommend it
- ¾ teaspoon Papa Joe's Salt or salt and pepper combined
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Preheat oven to 375° Prepare an 8 x 8 baking dish by rubbing the inside of the dish with the softened butter.
- Peel and thinly sliced the potatoes. Grate the gruyere cheese.
- Cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of sliced potatoes. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon Papa Joe's Salt and ¼ of the grated cheese. Begin again with the potatoes, sprinkle on the salt and cheese, and then create one last layer of potatoes, salt and cheese. You should have 3 layers of potato, cheese, and Papa Joe's/salt and pepper.
- Measure 1 cup of heavy cream into a large, liquid measuring cup. Add ½ cup whole milk and the clove of crushed garlic. Whisk gently to combine.
- Slowly pour the heavy cream mixture over the layers of potatoes.
- Bake uncovered at 375° for 60 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown on the top.
- Remove potatoes from the oven and allow them to rest for 20-30 minutes. This allows the potatoes to finish cooking, and gives the potatoes a little more time to absorb the liquid.