All summer long, I dread the fall. No more tomatoes or corn, no more daylight until 9pm, cold weather is around the corner, and the produce is much more scarce. However, when I make things like this potato gratin, I am reminded why I love cooking seasonally: all the seasons have their own special veggies that are open to so many dishes and variations. I love mushrooms and potatoes in the fall and winter, and let's face it: melted cheese is good any time of the year.
I have always loved potato gratin, and I'm pretty sure my mouth started watering as soon as I read the title of this recipe. Potatoes = good. Mushrooms = good. Gruyere = good. Its hard to mess up. Especially when heavy cream is involved (though to be honest, I subbed at least half of the cream for half and half, and the dish was still incredible). I made a fall harvest meal the night I served these potatoes: grilled maple-cider glazed pork tenderloin and sauteed Brussels spouts accompanied the gratin, and it was truly a delicious dinner.
I personally think potatoes should be in mashed potato form for Thanksgiving, but if you are looking for something a little different, that is elegant and upscale, this would be a lovely addition.
Potato Gratin with Mushrooms & Gruyere
adapted from Cook's Illustarted, The Best Make Ahead Recipes
serves 8 to 10
- 4 Tbs unsalted butter
- 2 medium onions, minced
- 1 pound cremini or shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbs minced fresh thyme leaves
- 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream or half and half
- 3 bay leaves
- 5 pounds russet potatoes (about 9 medium), peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick
- 10 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded (about 2 1/2 cups)
Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and mushrooms, and cook, stirring often, until the onions are softened and lightly browned, and the mushrooms have released moisture and it has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the wine, and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook until most of the wine has evaporated, 3-5 minutes.
Add the chicken broth, cream, and bay leaves. Stir in the potatoes, one handful at a time, stirring after each addition. Cover, reduce heat, and bring to a simmer. Stir often, and cook until the potatoes are mostly tender, about 15-20 minutes. To test, pierce a potato with a paring knife. It should be able to slip in and out of the potato with little resistance. Stir in half of the Guyere cheese.
Discard the bay leaves, and pour the potato mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Press gently into an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the potatoes, and cover with aluminum foil. Bake until the mixture is just warm, 30-40 minutes. Remove the foil and cook until the cheese is golden brown, and the sauce is bubbling, 10-15 minutes longer. Remove from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.