Grandma Lehman wrote on her newsprint recipe, “Great on a cold winter night or for a summer picnic.” How can you argue with that?
I’ve always loved gratin potatoes, or most things “gratin’d,” for that matter. And what I like about this recipe, in particular, is that while most gratins use milk or cream (and are quite heavy), this recipe uses chicken stock, making it lighter and much healthier. Can you use vegetable stock? You bet.
While it’s still very early spring and the air temperature cannot make up it’s mind outside, this is good recipe to try. Tubers and root vegetables still reign at the market so you’re sure to find nice, firm potatoes. But as my grandmother suggested, this is good for any time of year!
Want to make it a full meal? Layer in some cooked ham or sausage. Want to keep it vegetarian? Layer in a generous portion of mushrooms or very thinly sliced fennel bulb.
Grandma’s Gruyere Gratin Potatoes
- 8 medium waxy potatoes, any color (e.g. Yukon, not Russet, which hold their shape better)
- 1 1/2 cups grated gruyere cheese (about 6 ounces)
- 1 3/4 cups chicken broth (you can use vegetable broth if you prefer)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (not table salt)
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 400F (200C)
- Spray a 9 X 12-inch (23 cm X 30 cm) pan with vegetable or olive oil
- Scrub each potato and leave peels on. Cut into thin horizontal slices about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick (.3 cm). If you happen to have a mandolin, this is a perfect time to use it (use the guard to protect your hands)
- Spread half the potato slices in pan, overlapping is fine
- Sprinkle the potatoes with half of the cheese, thyme, salt and pepper
- Cube and evenly disperse half the butter over the seasoned potatoes in the pan
- Repeat with the remaining potato slices
- Evenly pour the broth over the potatoes
- Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, thyme, salt and pepper
- Disperse the remaining butter
- Bake uncovered for 60 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Use potholders!