Potatoes Au Gratin

Potatoes Au Gratin

Renée Robinson

Luxuriously Creamy Potatoes with Comté Cheese.

Whenever I’m lucky enough to grab a big wedge of Comté cheese I start thinking about ways to use it, besides eating it out of hand. It’s in my top 3 of favorite cheeses and this time I chose to make potatoes au gratin. There are many different ways to do this and I’ve made a lot of them over the years.

This time I chose a technique I like that requires little time in the oven. Instead, the potatoes are first cooked in a pot on the stovetop with milk, cream, a whole onion, a little garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper. By cooking them until they’re almost tender the starch in the potatoes combines with the liquid and becomes a thick and creamy sauce consistency.

I then simply spoon half of the potatoes into my baking dish, cover with a layer of the sauce, half the cheese, and repeat the layers. After only 30 minutes in the oven, they’ve browned nicely and are at the perfect creamy consistency.

Potatoes Au Gratin

I’ve recently tried dried long pepper for the first time. What an amazingly fragrant spice this is. It has the bite and heat of black pepper, but it’s much more complex. There are also touches of sweet spices in the flavor and aroma. I thought it would be great here because I was already using a little nutmeg and thought the long pepper would blend with it to compliment the Comté perfectly. Of course, Comté isn’t the only cheese that would work well here. Gruyère or any similar type cheese would be delicious, too. 

Another nice touch was to drizzle a couple teaspoons of hazelnut oil over the potatoes after they had come out of the oven. The heat from the potatoes opened up the nutty flavor and aroma of the oil. I wish I could adequately describe how wonderful this dish smelled. 

Ingredients for Potatoes Au Gratin

But the proof was in the eating. I consider potatoes this rich and creamy to be extremely luxurious. If it were up to me I would eat a helping of these with a brightly dressed bitter greens salad and call it very well done. Others in my family need some meat to go with it, so a simply grilled pork tenderloin was also served. I don’t make these potatoes often, but when I do it feels festive. They’re worthy of a celebration meal. Truly melt-in-your-mouth scrumptiousness. 

As an added bonus, these potatoes also reheat beautifully. But if you’re in the mood for something almost sinful, cut the cold potatoes into big squares and fry them up in a nonstick skillet with a little butter until they’re heated through and crisp on the outside, flipping them once. Yeah, they’re ridiculously good. 

Potatoes Au Gratin

Recipe by Renée Robinson
Servings

6-8

servings

Cook the potatoes in cream and milk on top of the stove until they're almost done. Layer them with cheese, bake for only a half hour and you've got yourself the best potatoes au gratin you've ever tasted.

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Ingredients

  • 3 pounds 3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick

  • 2 cups 2 whole milk

  • 2 cups 2 heavy cream

  • 1 small 1 yellow onion, peeled and left whole

  • 1 large 1 garlic clove, grated

  • 2 teaspoons 2 Morton’s kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoons 1/2 freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 finely ground long pepper

  • 9 ounces 9 Comtè cheese, coarsely grated (Gruyère could also be used)

  • 1 tablespoons 1 salted butter

  • 2 teaspoons 2 hazelnut oil, approximately

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 415° with a rack in the center. Combine the potatoes and next 7 ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, reduce the heat to medium low,13 and let simmer for 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon salted butter. Using a slotted spoon, add half the potatoes to the baking dish, fully covering the bottom. Spoon on a few ladles of the cream sauce, being sure the potatoes have a light layer of cream on top of them. Sprinkle on half the cheese. Add the rest of the potatoes to the dish and cover with all the remaining cream sauce. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes until nicely golden colored. Let rest for 15 minutes. Drizzle with the hazelnut oil and serve. Enjoy!

Equipment

  • 13 x 9 inch Baking Dish

2 Responses

  1. This was SOO yummy in spite of having to use gruyère rather than comté (even though my online grocery receipt showed as comté – annoying). grinding the long pepper took some effort; my grinder wasn’t up to the task, so I had to grind it with a mortar and pestle. Totally worth it – I think I’ll try it atop the besciamella on my lasagna.

    As I write this, I just realized I forgot to to drizzle the hazelnut oil (!) after I bought it especially for this recipe! 😂

    I can’t wait to make it again WITH comté AND the hazelnut oil.

    1. Karen, I’m so happy you enjoyed the potatoes!! Thanks so much for letting me know. I’m sorry to hear your grinder couldn’t handle the longpepper. I can’t imagine it was a whole lot of fun to grind it by hand. I’ve been using it a lot. It will be great for your lasagna. I couldn’t help but laugh when I read how you forgot to use the hazelnut oil. I’ve done the same thing so many times!! Lol! But be sure and use it for drizzling over salads, veggies, etc. It’s such a lovely flavor.

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