Is there even such a thing as “bad” potatoes au gratin? I really don’t think there is. And that makes the title of this recipe even more weighty.
This is a very basic, but exceedingly delicious, version of the much-beloved side dish.
Serve it to people you love. If they don’t already love you back, they will.
Zee Cast of Characters: russet potatoes, heavy cream, whole milk, flour, garlic, salt, pepper, and a little softened butter. And some sharp cheddar.
Good. Very good.
Very, very, very good.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, then scrub the potatoes so they’re very clean. We’re going to include the peel in this dish, because peeling potatoes is against my religion.
It’s a strange religion. I blame my mother.
Slice the potatoes—not too thick, not too thin.
Stack ’em up as you go…
And cut the stacks into fourths.
Soon you’ll have a positively prodigious pile of potato pieces.
Say that fast five times.
Now, in a bowl mix together the cream…
And the flour. This will add just a little bit of body and thickness to the creamy sauce.
Now peel some cloves of garlic. You can use as few as two…but I’m a maniac and use four.
Just be aware that four cloves in this recipe will result in a really garlicky flavor. I happen to love this, but it might be a little strong for some.
Add the garlic to the bowl…
Followed by the salt and the pepper. Don’t skimp on the pepper! You’ll regret it if you do.
Whisk it all together until it’s totally combined.
Now smear softened butter all over a baking dish.
Meantime, grate a good cup of cheddar cheese. Grate it yourself! It’s cheaper that way, and much, much more delicious than the pre-grated stuff.
To assemble the dish, add 1/3 of the potatoes to the buttered dish.
Pour in 1/3 of the cream mixture, stirring right before you pour to make sure the ingredients are totally mixed up.
Now repeat with another layer of potatoes…
Another third of the cream mixture…
And ending with the rest of the potatoes…
And the rest of the cream mixture.
And there you have it: Perfect Potatoes au Gratin! Enjoy, my friends!
Oh, wait. I think I forgot a couple of steps.
Sorry. I forgot to take my evening primrose oil this morning.
Cover the dish with foil. Bake it for a good 30 minutes to get the potatoes started. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly.
This looks about right! The top is golden brown, and the dish is bubbling all over. (If the 20 minutes doesn’t do the trick, just up this stage by 5 or 10 minutes. You want to make sure the whole dish is very hot and bubbly—this means the potatoes are really getting the chance to get done.)
“Get done?” Is that a grammatically legitimate phrase? I’ll have to think on this today.
Grab the grated cheddar and sprinkle it all over the top.
Return it to the oven for about five more minutes, or until the cheese is totally melted and starting to bubble.
Perfect! And you can’t believe how my kitchen smells right now. The garlic is just intoxicating.
Mmmm. Will you look at this?
Just look—my daughter couldn’t even wait.
When it comes to tasting delicious food, she inherited her mother’s patience.
And here we are: tender potatoes, the delectable creamy/garlic sauce, and the sharp, melted cheddar bringing it all together.
And believe it or not, the butter we smeared all over the bottom of the pan really does add a tiny bit of buttery goodness without overpowering everything.
China Check: Spode “Woodland.” Stay away if you aren’t a fan of game birds.
Okay. Back to the potatoes. You need to make these, baby. And here’s what you can serve them with.
A big ol’ baked ham.
A big ol’ braised beef brisket.
A big ol’ ribeye steak.
A big ol’ juicy hamburger.
A big ol’ pile of pulled pork.
…Or pretty much anything else you can think of. It’s pretty much one of the most versatile side dishes there is, and one of the most crowd-pleasing.
Yum. That was so good! But…is it just me, or does that duck look a little ticked off?
What’s wrong, Mr. Duck?
Ooops—sorry, dude. I’ll catch ya next time.
Here’s the handy printable:
Perfect Potatoes au Gratin
January 11, 2010
- Prep Time:
- 10 Minutes
- Cook Time:
- 1 Hours
- 8 Servings
- 4 whole Russet Potatoes, Scrubbed Clean
- 2 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
- 1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream
- 1/2 cup Whole Milk
- 2 Tablespoons Flour
- 4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
- 1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Freshly Grated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Smear softened butter all over the bottom of a baking dish.
Slice potatoes, then cut slices into fourths.
In a separate bowl, whisk together cream, milk, flour, minced garlic, salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour 1/3 of the cream mixture over the potatoes.
Repeat this two more times, ending with the cream mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown and really bubbling. Add grated cheese to the top of the potatoes and bake for 3 to 5 more minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Allow to stand for a few minutes before serving by the spoonful. Delicious!
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