These scalloped potatoes gratin are the ultimate side dish. Tender potato slices bake in a thick, rich cheesy sauce. Watch these disappear!
Gratin potatoes has always been one of my favorite side dishes.
In years past, I’d make them but they always seemed undercooked in the center. Even when I would make them from the package–the ones with the dehydrated potato slices–again, it would be undercooked in the center. My late husband and I got around this by eating around the edges and saving the part in the center for another meal where I could microwave them and they’d cook.
But in the last year, I found out what I was doing wrong, and the fix was really simple. First, I’d try to slice the potatoes with a knife. BAD PLAN, because no matter how you try, the slices are not even and most of the time are cut way too thick for the amount of time they have to cook. Problem solved with a mandoline slicer. Trust me, I always had one but never used it. I replaced what I had with one from Genius and I love, love, LOVE it. My old one had a straight blade, but the best ones have the “V-shaped” blade. This one has a dial for setting the thickness; my old one didn’t plus I had to change blades for what I was doing.
The second problem came that I was simply not using enough sauce. You have to have enough sauce to totally cover the layers of potatoes. The top should look flat–and unless you know what’s in there, it’s like a mystery. But the potatoes cook all the way through the casserole, and more sauce means better taste.
This cheese sauce is a combination of chicken stock and heavy cream. A diet dish, this is NOT. Cream makes a better sauce, end of the story. Using milk would make this a watery mess, and I don’t even want to think what this would be like if the sauce had skim milk–a travesty.
I used Gouda in these, which was an excellent choice. Fontina would be equally as good. Swiss would probably work too and in a pinch, a nice sharp cheddar. So get adventurous with the type of cheese you use. It makes this dish different each time you make it then!
I based this recipe off one I found on 12 Tomatoes, which had me drooling when I saw it.
- 3 tbs butter plus a pat for greasing the pan
- 3 tbs flour
- 1 clove garlic, cut in half
- 6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/16-inch (use a mandoline, seriously)
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 1 cup rich chicken stock
- 1 cup Gouda, shredded (don't use smoked gouda as it doesn't melt well) -or- Fontina
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- salt & pepper to taste for the sauce
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
- Grease a 2-2½ quart baking dish with the pat of butter
- Rub the cut side of the garlic around the interior of the pan; discard garlic
- Mix the 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp of pepper
- Layer the potatoes in the pan, sprinkling with the salt/pepper mixture between layers.
- Melt the 3 tbs butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat
- Mix the chicken stock and the cream together in a large measuring cup or bowl; set aside
- Carefully mix the flour into the melted butter--you want a smooth paste, not a lumpy one
- Let the flour/butter bubble around the sides
- Slowly add the cream/stock mixture, stirring constantly so there are no lumps.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the shredded Gouda; stir until cheese is melted.
- Pour sauce over sliced potatoes in pan.
- Top with the grated Parmesan cheese
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 45-60 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let the casserole stand 5-10 minutes before serving