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Gratin: Home Cooking Dish of the Month (December 2012)

The dish of the month for December is GRATIN! This is our reporting thread.

If you'd like to look at the voting thread, it is here:

Most of the votes for Gratin did not include a description or definition, except to say that there can be a wide variety of inclusions: cream, cheese, breadcrumbs, etc. Here is what Wikipedia says:
"Gratin is a widespread culinary technique in food preparation in which an ingredient is topped with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg and/or butter. Gratin originated in French cuisine and is usually prepared in a shallow dish of some kind. A gratin is baked or cooked under an overhead grill or broiler to form a golden crust on top and is traditionally served in its baking dish."

I think that definition is both specific enough, and broad enough, for our purposes, and does not limit what goes into a gratin.

Remember that you can use old favorite recipes, find new recipes, or make something up. Tell us a bit about how the dish was made, and whether you liked the final product. Photos are always welcome.

Please remember to paraphrase any recipes that are not your own; verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Everyone is welcome to join in, even if you've never participated before. Lots of good ideas come out of these threads.

So cooks, get thinking about gratins, and get back to Chowhound to post your results.
Tout le gratin sera là !

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  1. One of my favorite all time gratins is Alice Water's 'Swiss Chard Gratin", which I've played with a little and come up with a variation. I always make this at holiday dinners but also make it during the week as well. It's just wonderful:

    Saute one finely chopped onion in butter until soft. Add a clove or two of minced garlic and continue to cook a minute or two. Add handfuls of chopped swiss chard (and or kale) until the leaves begin to soften. I just keep adding handfuls until it cooks down a bit and I have enough chard to fill a 9x13 dish.

    Sprinkle 2 T flour over the mixture and stir. Pour into a buttered casserole dish. Drizzle over 2 cups of milk and/or cream, seasoned with healthy doses of salt, cracked pepper and grated nutmeg. (you can add these seasonings to the greens in the pot as they cook as well.)

    Cover with a light layer of toasted breadcrumbs mixed with some parmesan cheese (or pecorino). It is better to toast the breadcrumbs but in a rush, you can skip that. Dot with butter and cook for 35-45 minutes on 375.


    5 Replies
    1. re: Tom P

      That sounds wonderful and I really like chard. I would assume that any leftovers reheat well?

        1. re: Tom P

          I'm going to, I have chard and parm on hand and some panko crumbs that I'll sub in for the bread crumbs. I think this sounds like an weeknight dinner parnter.

      1. re: Tom P

        I love the recipe for artichoke/potato gratin from The Flexitarian Table. As a matter of fact, one is in the oven right now. It's just a mixture of potatoes and artichoke slices (trimmed of all the tough parts) topped with a mixture of panko crumbs and parmesan cheese. Since Flexitarian was a COTM a while ago, there are probably posts about this gratin.

        1. re: oakjoan

          Wouldn't you cook the artichokes first?

      2. Are we allowed to provide links to recipes we've used? I made a gratin this week that I liked a lot from butternut squash, apples, leeks from a Martha Stewart website.

        14 Replies
        1. re: Jay F

          yes, links are allowed , indeed encouraged!

          1. re: magiesmom

            Except if it is a link to you own blog. They will remove a post for doing that.

            1. re: melpy

              yes, I should have mentioned that. Sorry.

          2. re: Jay F

            Links are always helpful! Be sure and tell us your own experience with cooking the dish, and your impressions, also.

            1. re: L.Nightshade

              Okay. Thanks L.N. and mm. Here's the link. http://www.marthastewart.com/344010/a...

              I googled "martha gratin butternut" because I knew I wanted something with butternut squash, and I also wanted a shopping list.

              I used cream instead of sherry, which worked well. I didn't have sherry or any other alcohol in the house, but the cream was perfect. I was careful to cut the squash slices identically thick, the 1/8" asked for in the recipe, maybe a little thinner, and the apples a tiny bit thicker, not nearly as much as 1/4", but just a little teeny bit thicker than the squash. It was perfect.

              I don't think I'd use parmigiano again. Or maybe it just browned too much. In any case, it was the only false note in the dish. I would try this again with gruyere, or some kind of Swiss, or maybe Jarlsberg.

              The smallest butternut squash I could find had a gross weight of 3 pounds, and it yielded around two pounds of sliced squash, or twice as much as needed. So I bought three extra apples to make a squash/apple soup two days later (cooked with chicken stock, pureed, and finished with a little cream).

              It was delicious, and I felt oh, so virtuous eating nothing -- well, almost nothing -- but fruits and veg for 3 days.

              1. re: Jay F

                I have a butternut squash on the counter... trying this tonight! Along with the eggplant gratin below. Gratin Saturday!

                1. re: Jay F

                  I just had a problem with this. I made it exactly as written... tempted the whole time to add cream, as you did. But I wanted to see what it was like as written. When I started building the gratin, I kept thinking... there's no liquid, it is going to be too dry... and there was literally no liquid. But I figured, well, we cover it and the apples have liquid so maybe that will do it.

                  Well, when it came out of the oven.. totally dry. So I don't understand. After an hour, I poured in cream and baked it 15 more minutes. That helped a lot! I was just cooking for myself so it was a fun experiment. And it was my first time to attack a butternut Squash from scratch, which was easy and fun, so I am glad i learned that. But the butternut squash gratin with goat cheese below I will make again and again. This one... someone help me, where does the liquid come from?

                  1. re: Tom P

                    I did not have a dryness problem. In fact, I cooked it an extra 10 minutes because it seemed, if not exactly soupy, then as if it could stand a little bit of drying out time.

                    Did you cover it with tinfoil and seal it tightly?

                    1. re: Jay F

                      He says "we cover it" so sounds like he knows that

                      Seems to me that since you are using fresh produce, the wetness or dryness of your dish will depend solely on the moisture content of your particular vegetables & fruit, especially if you do not add any liquid to begin with. Nature does not make every squash or apple the same way twice.

                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                        I did indeed cover it. It tastes great the day after with the addition of the cream. It's hard for me to see how it would not be dry, given I cooked the sherry, the only liquid, into a glaze. But as you said, veggies are different. My apples may have been drier than most.

                        1. re: Tom P

                          The squash is likely to be the big variable there. I sometimes get precut butternut in plastic when I just want a little for the two of us, and I usually cut up, steam and mash it. Sometimes it's almost soupy just with butter, sometimes very much in need of added liquid, and I can't always tell by looking which it'll be.

                  2. re: Jay F

                    Thanks for posting the link. I served this as part of our Christmas day meal and it was an enormous hit. I doubled it, and followed the recipe to the letter. Only problem was that I was a little short on parmesan so had to grate up some monterey jack (the only other light cheese I had) to fill in the gaps.

                    I was looking for something that would be comfort foodish but not be filled with heavy cream.

                    1. re: 512window

                      I'm glad you liked it.

                      I should get back to making a gratin, but all the ones that look good to me now are potatoes and cream.


                2. I need some cookbook/online recommendations for gratins

                  1. My finding four graduated-size tin-lined copper gratin pans at a yard sale and another small one a week later got me started on this as a way to cook everything from sides to main courses. With vegetables I usually steam them just to the beginning of tenderness, then toss with oil and/or butter and seasonings, spread into a pan with grated cheese, buttered crumbs, or a combination. Fifteen minutes in the oven wraps it up. If Mrs. O is out and I want meat or fish, I can preseason that and then roast it on a wire rack in another pan. 30 minutes will roast a thick lamb chop at 350º, or 20 minutes for a piece of fish, and there's plenty of room to slide the broccoli or Brussels sprouts in next to that to finish.

                    I think my favorite gratin recipe from a book is for Morue à la Savoyarde, a classic bistro dish that is fiddly as hell for the home cook making one pan, but easy if you're a cook preparing a day's worth. It's still worth it for me. Here's my take on it:

                    3 or 4 White Rose or other boiling potatoes
                    About 3/4 pound of salt cod, refreshed and cleaned of skin/bones
                    1 medium onion, sliced thin
                    salt, pepper
                    Comté cheese

                    Boil the potatoes until just barely tender. Peel and slice 1/8" thick. Fry until golden brown, seasoning lightly, set aside.

                    Cut the cod into large bite-size pieces, about 1 1/5" square. Dry well, fry until golden brown and set aside. Fry the onion likewise.

                    Combine potatoes, fish and onion in a buttered gratin pan. Grate a good but not copious quantity of the Comté over all. To serve, set into a preheated 400º oven for ten or twelve minutes and serve immediately. A small green salad or vegetables à la Grecque … you know the drill. For that good old Parisian touch have some good cold Sancerre, and Hot Club on the music box.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Will Owen

                      Sounds amazing, and definitely want to try as I'm trying to cook with fish more often. Question: why do you boil the potatoes slightly before frying? I've seen that direction in other recipes, but never the reason why. Thanks!

                      1. re: DGinDC

                        It makes the potatoes cooked and tender already, so all you have to do is give them color in the pan, not cook them through.

                    2. Ok, here is another from me. (Gratin fanatic here :)

                      This is a spin on a recipe from TENDER by Nigel Slater, a wonderful, wonderful book. Even people who think they hate eggplant go nuts at my house over this dish. It is simple yet very elegant, so it works for a mid-week supper or for Christmas Dinner. It tastes SO good.

                      EGGPLANT GRATIN

                      Take 1 large or 2 medium eggplant. Trim ends, cut in half horizontally, then slice halves in long, fairly thin strips. Toss slices with salt in a bowl, then put them in a colander and let drain 30 min at least. Pat dry.

                      In the meantime, slice 1 medium onion and saute in butter. Add 3-4 cloves sliced garlic. Season with salt, cracked black pepper and fresh thyme as you cook.

                      Place the onions in a shallow baking dish. Layer the eggplant on top, scattering salt, pepper and fresh thyme as you do.

                      OPTIONAL: You can brown the eggplant slices quickly in olive oil in a pan for a more roasted feel and taste. This is good but I only do it every so often. The dish is still wonderful without it. Just pat them dry to remove most of the oil once browned.

                      Pour enough whipping cream over the onions and eggplant to wet well. It should not cover them but can come up to the top, about 1 3/4 cups depending on the dish. Scatter a healthy layer of parmesan and/or pecorino on top.

                      Bake at 350 for 35-45 min, until bubbling and browned.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Tom P

                        Tom, do you mean "horizontally," as in "cut in half horizontally," which to me means you can't really cut long strips, because you cut the eggplant in such a way as to preclude horizontal cutting.

                        (Am I making sense?)

                        1. re: Jay F

                          Yes, making perfect sense. I think Slater has you cut the eggplant vertically from top to bottom. That is too long for me, to serve. So I cut it in half across the middle, then make vertical slices top to bottom, so they are vertical strips but each strip half the size of the length of the eggplant... Goodness, am I myself making sense? :)

                          1. re: Tom P

                            Yes. You make sense. Cutting horizontally first is the simplest way to arrive at what you want.

                      2. My winter comfort-and-nutrition dish:

                        Butter a gratin dish. Preheat oven to 375.

                        Saute greens of any kind with thinly sliced or finely chopped onions (and/or shallots or garlic) and put aside. Slice an onion or two fairly thinly and cook gently until soft and golden (or use caramelized onions if you have them on hand). Slice potatoes and sweet potatoes thinly. Grate a bunch of Gruyere or Comte or the like.

                        Lay thin layer of onions in gratin. Cover with overlapping rounds of potato and sweet potato. Salt & pepper, a little bit of the onions, and greens. Cheese. Then potatoes again, etc., ending with plenty of cheese.

                        Combine a bit of chicken stock and cream in the skillet in which you prepped onions and/or greens and stir to 'deglaze'. Pour over veg. Cover gratin tightly with foil and bake for an hour. Uncover (use tongs and mind the steam), top with a bit more crisping material (grated hard cheese, buttered breadcrumbs), and cook uncovered another 15 minutes.

                        Especially good on a bed of baby arugula, or with a crisp green salad.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: ellabee

                          What type of greens do you use? And then you serve it with more greens or a salad?

                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                            I've used spinach, kale, turnip greens, beet greens, chard, tsatsoi (Chinese cabbage)... Almost anything works.

                            Depending on what's on hand, I often scatter chopped fresh herbs on the potato layer: parsley, celery leaves, thyme. If I'm using spinach, I'll grate a little nutmeg onto the greens layer. This is a very flexible, forgiving dish.

                            As mcf notes below, it's helpful to let gratins sit for ten minutes or so after coming out of the oven; the bubbling subsides and some of the liquid gets re-absorbed by the solid components.

                            The greens in the gratin have a softness and depth that complements the potatoes, onions, and cheese. The effect of the bedding arugula or the salad greens is different -- more of a sharp, fresh, biting contrast of texture and taste (I make the salad vinaigrette a bit more acidic than usual to cut the richness of the gratin).

                            1. re: ellabee

                              I love the idea of serving them with the fresh greens, especially arugula, one of my faves. For the greens in the gratin, do you add them raw or already steamed?

                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                Sauteed (or, if you prefer, steamed). The idea is to release a lot of their liquid before they go into the gratin, which might otherwise be too watery.

                                The gratin-with-greens is easy for me to make because I often have already-cooked greens in the fridge. For the last year I've tried to cook up greens shortly after bringing them into the kitchen. Many benefits: they take up only a fraction of the fridge space they do fresh, they stay usable much longer, and recipes incorporating them take less time (and so are much likelier to be made).

                                Having recently been won over by an old chow post to the idea of doing caramelized onions in the oven, I'm now also likely to have caramelized onions on hand. That reduces the advance prep for the gratin to slicing the potatoes and grating the cheese.

                                1. re: ellabee

                                  Thanks for your responses! I am always looking for ways to use up the cooked greens I make also.

                            2. re: ellabee

                              Oh wow, really? Cannot wait to try this.

                              How happy am I this is the monthly dish :)

                            3. This is a new Thanksgiving tradition and something I make with variations almost weekly because I'm obsessed with the fragrance and the flavors: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... I've made it a few times for family just as written and I've been told they've dreamed about it long afterwards. All those fresh herbs, a good Comte gruyere and heavy cream just meld beautifully. It looks a tad soupy when it's ready, but take it out anyway; it'll bubble for a while and then thicken up some. It reheats really well as leftovers, but is best the first day, IMO.

                              The way I make it when it's just for us is much lower carb because I'm diabetic and eat very low carb... I've made it with white turnips (I'm ok with it, but it's a bit more bitter than Mr. MCF likes). It's great with both rutabaga or with celery root, with celery root maybe the most satisfying low carb substitute.

                              The recipe as written is just beautiful in color and looks great in a round, rustic looking Italian baking dish I use... great presentation.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: mcf

                                A friend of mine makes a version of this from Alice Water's The Art Of Simple Food, it is incredible. I am sure this one is as well. Yum. And, yes, so versatile. I will post a celery root/parsnip gratin I make that is kind of the same. Wow, also so good.

                                1. re: Tom P

                                  I just LOVE and miss parsnips so much. They smell so good when you cut into them. Can't eat them any more, though, but I'd be interested to see your recipe.

                                  Honestly, all that cream, butter, cheese and herbs could be poured on dirt and it'd prolly be great.

                              2. We made butternut squash gratin tonight. We used this recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... , but cut it in half and instead of fresh goat cheese, we used some goat Gouda that was left over from Thanksgiving appetizers. Absolutely delicious!

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: aching

                                  Oh Wow... a friend of mine brought this to our big Thanksgiving dinner. I was going to post it later. It was one of the best gratins I've ever had. I am making it again for Christmas. And it holds well, just as good a few days later. I can attest.

                                  This is one of the best recipes I've encountered in years. Seriously.

                                  1. re: aching

                                    That looks really good, will have to try it with pumpkin or rutabaga for a lower carb substitute... yum.

                                    1. re: mcf

                                      I had the leftovers for breakfast the next day - so good. It might have even been better with a poached egg on top (my answer to everything these days seems to be "Add a poached egg!").

                                      1. re: aching

                                        What could be bad? Makes any snack a legitimate meal. ;-)

                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                            A fried egg is usually the right answer:)

                                    2. Thanksgiving variation of http://www.chow.com/recipes/30495-mix...
                                      with tree mushrooms and leftover dressing. Very tasty, very rich.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Cynsa

                                        I was struck by the frequency with which celery root showed up in the chow Thanksgiving recipes, because it has never once been available at a local grocery or farmers' market. Not even the most adventurous and diversified local vegetable gardeners/farmers here grow it. At this time of year the supermarket has radicchio and fennel and endive, but there's never any celeriac. Where/under what conditions does it grow well?

                                        1. re: ellabee

                                          It has become almost ubiquitous here in Western MA. We grow it easily. Not sure if it is in regular supermarkets as we shop at co-ops.

                                      2. I love celeriac and we often eat this gratin. We add about 1/4 cup of finely chopped dried mushrooms of any kind and about 3/4 c of their soaking liquid. The earthiness of the mushrooms is really a good fit with the celery root.
                                        Also, panko is nice on the top with the cheese.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: magiesmom

                                          I love celeriac also, this looks very good. Will have to try it, I bet it's wonderful with beef, perfect for a holiday roast!

                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                            It is, and also perfect with roast chicken too. It satisfies the lower carb folks too in place of potatoes.

                                            1. re: magiesmom

                                              Excellent, my Mom is diabetic, so I may make this for her when she visits over Christmas. Thanks for the link!

                                          2. re: magiesmom

                                            magiesmom, if you are using some of the mushroom soaking liquid, do you reduce the cream accordingly, or do you find it needs that extra moisture? I am intrigued by this recipe as I LOVE celeriac and should not be eating potatoes (though I do).

                                            1. re: GretchenS

                                              Since the celeraic measurement * three medium* is vague, I eyeballl the liquid a bit, I would rather have it too damp and cook it more than have to too dry, so I decrease the cream only a little, like 1/4 cup. I think the original recipe is a tad dry.

                                              Also, I slice rather than julienne the celeriac.

                                              1. re: magiesmom

                                                Just seeing this now, magiesmom, thanks and esp for the permission to slice rather than julienne! ;)

                                          3. The Dec./Jan. issue of Fine Cooking has several vegetable gratins. My Father requested their leek and mixed mushroom gratin as an addition to the Thanksgiving groaning board.

                                            A variety of mushrooms are roasted (we used shitake, white button and baby bella's). Leeks are cooked in a skillet, cream and fresh sage are added and reduced. Vermouth was added at some point. Vegetable are combined, placed in buttered baking dish and covered with crumbs from fresh rye bread, fontina cheese and butter. Salt, pepper too. (Sorry - going from memory!)

                                            The rye topping made it pop. I would not make this for Thanksgiving again - just involves too many steps and too many pots and pans. I would make it with a less involved meal though!

                                            1. Fish au Gratin
                                              Butter a deep gratin dish and coat with breadcrumbs.
                                              Cut 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 leek, a few mushrooms, 1 clove of garlic and 3-4 tomatoes into julienne or thin slices. Saute the vegetables in olive oil and butter in a large saute pan, starting with the pepper. Then add mushrooms and so on. Use other vegetables if you like. Salt and pepper.
                                              Drink a glass of white wine and pour another one into the pan. Cook briefly.
                                              Spread half the veg mixture into the gratin dish. Season fillets of white fish (cod works fine) without skin with salt and pepper, put on vegetables. Top with the rest of the veg.
                                              Mix some breadcrumbs with grated parmigiano or old gouda and cover the veg with this mixture. Top with butter slices (be generous). Bake in a hot oven for about 20 minutes.

                                              1. I improvised a low-carb Brussels sprouts gratin tonight - it may be my new favorite preparation of my favorite vegetable!

                                                Trim and slice 1 lb. of Brussels sprouts. Saute a couple cloves of garlic in two tablespoons of butter in an ovenproof skillet just big enough to hold the sprouts (I used a 12", which worked perfectly). Add the sprouts and some salt and pepper and saute for a couple of minutes. Toss in some sprigs of thyme, stir and even the sprouts out into an even layer. Pour in a cup of heavy cream (a little whole grain mustard might be a nice addition at this point). Bake at 375 degree oven for 15-20 mins. Sprinkle a thick layer of Parmesan cheese on top and dot with butter. Broil until brown and bubbly, about three minutes.

                                                So rich. So decadent. SO GOOD.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: biondanonima

                                                  You had me at "a little whole grain mustard." Love brussel sprouts, mmm.

                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                    Sounds delish. I absolutely love B. sprouts & will have to give this recipe a shot!

                                                  2. My favorite potato gratin is this recipe: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/potat... . It isn't overly goat cheesy - in fact I served it to a friend who was an avowed goat cheese hater and I didn't tell her what was in it. She had multiple servings and once I told her what was in it, she will now try goat cheese.

                                                    I get cravings for this recipe.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: suburban_mom

                                                      I love the idea of goat cheese in a potato gratin. Must try!

                                                      1. re: suburban_mom

                                                        That sounds/looks wonderful. I may just have to add this one to the list of which potato gratin I'll be making to accompany this year's Xmas roast goose.

                                                      2. Gratin of Pattypan [yellow crookneck] Squash
                                                        This is from a cookbook called "Roger Vergé's Vegetables in the French Style." I used yellow squash because pattypan has disappeared from my store for the year.
                                                        The squash is cooked, later tossed with butter and a little garlic. A sauce made from finely chopped (not very, I was lax) mushrooms, sliced shallots, cream and milk (I used half-and-half) a little nutmeg, and salt & pepper covers the squash. The gratin topping is grated Gruyere, and the whole thing is baked until bubbly and browned (the pic I took pre-browning so the food could be served hot!)
                                                        I used round cazuela dishes, not having gratin dishes.
                                                        Very nice, a little involved, but very nice. The book says to use pattypan squashes that are less than 1 1/2 inches across! I don't think I've ever seen any that tiny/adorably sized.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                          Fabulous Blue room! I have those tiny dishes too, and they are great for individual gratins - your recipe sounds delicious. What can go wrong with squash, mushrooms, flavorings and creaminess.

                                                          In summer here, we often have those tiny squashes in the store - but they have no flavor, and look like they came from big- agra; the larger ones normally at the Farmer's market are much better. Perhaps in France the tiny squash come from real farms.

                                                          Sounds good.

                                                        2. Would love to try to make Jansson's Temptation -- anyone have a fool-proof recipe?

                                                          7 Replies
                                                          1. re: Sarah

                                                            Wow, I had to look that one up! Where would you get the sprats?

                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                              are you responding to my query? if so, what sprats?

                                                              1. re: Sarah

                                                                I googled Jansson's Temptation, and came up with a wikipedia article that said it's a dish with potatoes, onion, pickled sprats, breadcrumbs and cream.

                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                  hmmm- pretty esoteric. Maybe back to my old standby the potato gratin w/ porcini -- yawn--.... thanks!

                                                            2. re: Sarah

                                                              MARTHA had a recipe for this a year or so ago.... I think I saw it in a horrible, large coffee table book all about her 'fabulous house' in upstate Connecticut. I have Martha issues, but the gratin sounded good..... and she recommended it for the holidays:)

                                                              But, this is the best version I found online;

                                                              Nice blog article about it......

                                                              1. re: gingershelley

                                                                That's interesting. The article I read said that the use of anchovies is based upon a mis-translation of the Swedish word for sprats (ansjovis), and that they are very different. (Keep in mind I have no personal knowledge of this, I just googled when Sarah brought it up.)
                                                                I actually like the sound of the dish with anchovies. The sprats (with sugar in the pickling) did not appeal so much, but I could go for the anchovy version!

                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                  I agree about potatoes with anchovies - that sounds delish - kind of reminds me of Spanish Bacaacalo - fish flavors, potato and a little preserved quality:)

                                                            3. Last night was my turn to cook for a crowd and my dish will be reheated at lunch today so this was my gratin. I had a huge bag of frozen mixed veg from Costco and I cooked them and drained well, buttered and seasoned. Then I made a cream sauce using sauted onion in the roux, and whole milk and thinned it out with veggie broth. I combined this with the veg in a baking dish and spread on a thick mashed potato mixture, sprinlkled on parmesan and dotted with butter. The whole thing was baked at 375 until brown, By definition I am calling this a gratin but others might call it a vegetarian cottage pie.

                                                              1. This is kind of a variation on potatoes au gratin

                                                                3# baking potatoes
                                                                1 Cup grated queso añejo
                                                                1 Cup (1 bunch) cilantro chopped
                                                                6 oz heavy cream
                                                                1 Tbl. unsalted

                                                                Slice the potoates lengthwise into 1/4" slices (by hand or on a mandoline). Rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. Dry potato slices then toss the potatoes in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients

                                                                Spray an 8" square baking dish with pan release then layer in the potato slices and dot the top with the butter. Cover with foil, bake at 375* for about an hour, then let sit for 20 minutes.

                                                                This recipe is fairly versatile in that you can
                                                                - use half & half or milk instead of cream, or a combination of milks. The mixture may seem dry going into the baking dish, don't be tempted to add extra liquid, it doesn't need it.
                                                                - If queso añejo is not readily available, substitute with jack or swiss cheese ( do NOT use queso fresco, it has too high a water content). Queso añejo is fairly salty, so if substituting a different cheese for it, some added salt may be necessary. I've actually used Cotija cheese in this recipe with good success. It doesn't melt very readily, but it does provide nice little nuggets of cheese and salt.
                                                                - The potato can also be cut crosswise, but fits better into the baking dish if cut lengthwise.
                                                                - After the gratin has set for the 20 minutes it's firm enough to cut into shapes with a cookie cutter, which makes for a very nice plate presentation.
                                                                - Oh, and the cilantro really mellows out with the long cooking and is not an overwhelming flavor inspite of a whole bunch being used. I can't guarantee that it still won't taste like soap to the people who can't tolerate cilantro, but the flavor does change with the long cooking.

                                                                I found this recipe in The Salpicon Cookbook a few years ago and have been making it ever since. It's not fast due to the long baking time, but it is a very easy and tasty twist on regular potatoes au gratin

                                                                1. Well, tonight I am having a good friend over for a holiday dinner and to decorate the tree; I am making a very classic 'Shelley' dinner - lamb chops and the 'famous' potato gratin.

                                                                  So my potato gratin is 'super simples'; learned from the Frenchman, but one of the best things I have eaten in my life - and we had the priveledge while a couple to eat in many 3,4,5, star Michelin's. I am not trying to boast, just saying that his potato gratin is seriously good, and simple. NO cheese, just potatoes and milk products with a bit of seasoning - I encourage you all to give it a try.

                                                                  So it is not very complicated; just meticulous. You need whole milk, and heavy cream - the best cream you can buy (36%), and non-pasteurized if possible, but just 'super heavy whipping cream " is fine. The point is, you CANNOT substitute 1/2 & 1/2; it has stabilizers and additives that change the game of how the potatoes absorb the milk products, I know there are haters here for CI, but they say the same...

                                                                  Get you mandoline out; you need to slice Yukon Gold potatoes (or similar waxy/flavvorful potatoes VERY thin), and go to town on a lb. or so.... rub a deep gratin dish with a clove of garlic, sprinkle with salt. Begin layering in the potatoes, thinly sliced, and dribble in the cream and whole milk in equal measures. Every 2 layers, add some salt and pepper, and if you are a bit wild, a thyme leaf or two. Continue layering potato slices, heavy cream, dribbles of milk, a tad bit of salt (to your taste) until the vessel is full. Preheat the oven to 425.

                                                                  The real key is to cook for a VERY long time; the potatoes will begin to bubble around the 35-40 minute mark - that is just when they are absorbing all the creaminess. Turn the oven down around here to 360.

                                                                  They are NOT cooked until a nearly brown/black crust forms on top - (at around 1 hour) - when that crust lifts up, puffs up, then settles back down. At 1.25 hours, check the potato slices with a knife - if it goes in easily, then you can take it out of the oven. When it is done, mostly you will find that the dish is a thick slab of potato goodness; no excess creaminess, just potatoes surrounded with a thick sauce, and everything brown and awesome on top.

                                                                  Let the dish sit out for about 20 minutes before you serve it. Then, you will have an amazing, delicious dish of creamy potatoes that just taste of buttery cream and potato. Nothing else needed.

                                                                  My favorite dish on earth. Your welcome:)

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: gingershelley

                                                                    gs, thank you! i want to make this. do you mean a sprig of thyme, or did you mean a bay leaf? because i think bay is typical, but i adore thyme....

                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                      I have used thyme leaves, but I think bay would be lovely (I love it with potatoes); of course Jean Francois insists NOTHING is the right addition, but as that is a typical Frenchman - their way is the proper way.:) I think you should add what you want - EXCEPT cheese - that is the revelation of this potato dish - it doesn't NEED cheese, just it's amazing creamy potato taste...

                                                                    2. re: gingershelley

                                                                      That's similar to how a chef friend taught me to do potato gratin too - no cheese and just half milk and half cream. He mixed the cream and milk together in a pot and warmed it to just a bit warmer than lukewarm before adding it though. He never did explain why. Thanks for the cooking temp and time tips, I normally just pop it in the oven and leave it for ages without much of a clue as to when it will be cooked through. It's nice to be able to add a time and signs to look for to my recipe.

                                                                      1. re: Frizzle

                                                                        Your welcome Frizzle; I had to watch him make it many times and take note of how it 'looked' as it cooked to get it right. I made it a few times where it wasn't even remotely as good as his, and it took a long time to get it right. That 'billowy' crust that seperates from the main bubbly potato dish that then settles down is the key....

                                                                        I now just don't want to eat potato gratin with lots of cheese or other stuff; once you try it with really good potatoes, cream + milk (NO 1/2 n 1/2!), it is a revelation...

                                                                        I do like cheesy gratins, but more with other veggies like fennel, zucchini, etc. than potato.

                                                                        I am spoiled for the purity of the flavor and unctuous texture!

                                                                      2. re: gingershelley

                                                                        I made your potatoes for Christmas Day dinner; oh my, potato heaven! Thank you for sharing the wonderfulness of this dish - it's all you promised and more.

                                                                      3. Celery Gratin
                                                                        We loved this, and it's very simple!
                                                                        Chopped celery and grated parmesan baked with cream -- topped with olive-oil moistened breadcrumbs. Good good !

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                          oooh... i have a bunch of celery at home....

                                                                        2. Cranberry Bean Gratin
                                                                          Didn't make me happy, but I'm sure it's fixable.
                                                                          The beans are mixed with celery, sage, carrots and onions. Also a little tomato, some garlic. But the only liquid is what's leftover from cooking the beans, there is no cream or stock to make this a nice brimming little melded medley mini-casserole under its broiled crumbs. Nothing wrong with a healthy bowl 'o beans w/veggies, but not exciting, and not really a gratin in my book.

                                                                          1. Cauliflower Gratin (as recited by our green grocer)
                                                                            So comforting and delicious. We had it for dinner all by itself!

                                                                            1 large (3 pound) head of fresh cauliflower, cut into florets

                                                                            5 tablespoons butter

                                                                            4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

                                                                            4 cups milk

                                                                            2 teaspoons salt

                                                                            1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

                                                                            1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

                                                                            1 1/3 cups grated Gruyere cheese

                                                                            1/3 cup dry, seasoned breadcrumbs

                                                                            1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

                                                                            Preheat an oven to 375F. Butter a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish and set it aside. Steam the cauliflower in a large pot of boiling water fitted with a steamer basket for 5 to 7 minutes, until the florets are just tender. Rinse them in cold water, drain, and arrange them in a single layer in the buttered dish.

                                                                            In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour until it forms a smooth paste. Continue whisking, cook for about 2 minutes, and then gradually – 1/3 cup at a time - add the milk. Continue whisking and cook until the sauce is completely heated through, smooth, and thickened. Remove from the heat and season with the salt, thyme, and nutmeg.

                                                                            Pour 2 cups of the Béchamel sauce over the steamed cauliflower and gently toss the florets to make sure they are thoroughly coated with the sauce. Bake the gratin, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Stir together the grated Gruyere cheese and breadcrumbs and sprinkle them over the gratin. Bake it for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the gratin is hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted and browned. Sprinkle the surface of the baked gratin with the ground pepper and serve hot.

                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                              That sounds utterly delicious. I love cauliflower so much, but I usually "just" roast it. It goes so well with cheese and breadcrumbs :-)

                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                You know when the cauliflower is so white you just can't believe your luck! Well, that got us gushing and the GG comes by to brag and one thing leads to another and we're jotting down recipes on our hands!

                                                                              2. re: HillJ

                                                                                Another CAULIFLOWER GRATIN

                                                                                I made this fron Canyon Ranch recipe here: http://www.canyonranch.com/your-healt...

                                                                                Delicious! My five year old grandson who like very few vegetables and not cauliflower said that I can make it for him everyday :)

                                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                                  herby, that looks fantastic. Onion and swiss, yum! Smart grandson! (and that website is beautiful).

                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                    Good recipes there too. I made vegetarian bean chili from the site and it was very good. They say that if you use three kinds of beans in a dish you will have complete protein.

                                                                              3. Using this Swiss Pan Potato Gratin recipe as inspiration: http://www.chives.ca/recipes/swiss-pa... , I made a potato gratin last night with potatoes (using raw potatoes, not cooked), milk (no cream), celery, onion, garlic, Tabasco, Worcestershire and gruyere. Nice change from my usual.

                                                                                1. Artichoke, Leek, and Potato Gratin
                                                                                  Halfway through the month and I've finally made a gratin. Upthread oakjoan mentions an artichoke and potato gratin. I didn't have the cookbook she cited, but I took the ingredients, and some liberties, and threw it together. I sautéed sliced leeks for the bottom layer, and did a quick sauté of sliced artichoke hearts (I cheated by using a box of frozen hearts, thawed) for the next layer. A layer of sliced potatoes went next. I poured in a mix of chicken stock and cream, then topped the little baking dishes with grated parmesan, manchego, and panko. Easy, and it passed the taste test. A nice accompaniment to a roast chicken.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                    Wow, that looks and sounds amazing.

                                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                      That sounds terrrrrrific LN! Love the combo of leeks, potato and artichoke; and that your 'sauce' wasn't so heavy with some stock as part of it.

                                                                                      Looks divine...

                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                        Thanks gingershelley and Tom P!
                                                                                        It was great reheated a couple days later too.

                                                                                      2. Here's my standard "go to" favorite to accompany our Xmas roast goose that I've been making for many years now. It's very rich, so a little goes a long way.

                                                                                        BACARDI1 BOURSIN POTATO GRATIN

                                                                                        2 cups heavy cream
                                                                                        One 5-ounce package Boursin cheese with Garlic & Herbs (if Boursin isn’t available, “Alouette” brand works well)
                                                                                        1-1/2 pounds red or white (or a mix) waxy, thin-skinned potatoes,very thinly sliced (use a mandolin if at all possible)
                                                                                        Kosher or sea salt & freshly-ground black pepper

                                                                                        Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

                                                                                        Generously butter a 2 or 3-quart baking dish.

                                                                                        In a saucepan, melt Boursin cheese with the cream – a few small chunks of cheese left are fine.

                                                                                        Place a layer of the potatoes n the baking dish & sprinkle with a little salt & freshly ground black pepper. Pour half of the cream/cheese mixture over, and repeat with the remaining half of potatoes & cream/cheese mixture.

                                                                                        Bake approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until top is browned & a knife slides easily through gratin.

                                                                                        (Recipe is easily doubled or tripled.)

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Bacardi1


                                                                                          I would love to make this one with leeks and cauliflower; the boursin flavors are so good (I love it stuffed in Chix breasts).

                                                                                          Great idea I have to steal. Thanks for sharing!

                                                                                          1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                            You're welcome! I'm sure it would work great with leeks & cauliflower as well.

                                                                                        2. The nomination thread for the January Dish of the Month is now up here:

                                                                                          1. I think someone may have already mentioned this Squash Gratin with Poblano Chiles & Cream up thread - http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/sq...

                                                                                            I made it last night and it pretty much knocked my socks off. It was definitely a WOW.

                                                                                            Poblanos and crema is a pretty iconic pairing, the addition of the squash and cheese just gilded the lily.

                                                                                            1. Made a pared down version of Barefoot Contessa's spinach gratin. Cook chopped onions in butter, add flour to make a roux then add heavy cream and milk to make a thick sauce. Stir in s + p, thawed chopped spinach which you have squeezed the water out of and some parmesan. Put in a buttered dish, top with grated gruyere and some more parm and cook at 425 for about 20 minutes. We ran it under the broiler to get the true gratin top.

                                                                                              1. Well, I've finally joined the fray and made my mom's recipe for potato gratin for dinner yesterday -- we had friends over for a semi-potluck with lamb shish kebabs, a very interesting quinoa salad, green beans, and chocolate cake.

                                                                                                The "recipe": slice 2 lbs. of potatoes (I generally use yellow or butter potatoes, but they looked crappy, so I used red potatoes for the first time.... while my man loved it, I like waxier varieties better than this one) on the thinnest setting of your mandoline.

                                                                                                Butter a baking dish. Layer potatoes. Pour over a cup of light cream with cayenne, LOTS of crushed garlic and more salt than you would ever think necessary. Top with your favorite grated cheeses -- I like to use a mix of Swiss, Romano and Parmesan.

                                                                                                Bake at 375° for 45 min. to an hour or until golden brown on top.


                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                  Oooh, all that browned cheesy goodness just begging to be peeled off the edges of the pan... that looks great.

                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                    It is really fab. I only tend to make it when we have guests, as we don't eat a lot of starches on our own anymore, so I genuinely enjoy this dish.

                                                                                                    Tonight will have to be leftovers... potatoes 2 nights in a row... thazz just crezzy! Virtue will have to wait another day :-)

                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                      Yep, when I make mine for guests, I use yukon golds and garnet sweet potatoes, but for us, it's rutabaga or celery root.

                                                                                                      We ate a low carb dinner and followed up with a few wedges from a Mrs. Prindables dark chocolate and pecan apple. Hey, it happens in the best homes. ;-)

                                                                                                  2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                    That does look wonderful! I love the cayenne addition!

                                                                                                  3. I made Nigel Slater's Brussels Sprouts Gratin, which he calls "A rich dish of sprouts and cheese for a very cold night." It was a very cold night. I didn't have access to Stichelton cheese, so used a regular blue. I roasted the sprouts instead of boiling them. And it was good, but not great. I think one of the wonderful things about a gratin, especially one that contains potatoes, is the way the vegetables absorb the other creamy ingredients. The Brussels sprouts did no absorbing, so the cream and cheese just sat around them. And I'm not even quite sure that they work that well with blue cheese. Anyway, decent, not great side. Wish I had done it with potatoes!

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                      It looks beautiful, though! I often make a cream and gruyere gratin with cauliflower, and while it doesn't absorb the cream, it's a really satisfying combination, with the veggie a good complement and vehicle for getting all that cheesy stuff into your mouth.

                                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                        Do you think the Brussels sprouts might have absorbed more of the creaminess if they had been boiled (or steamed) instead of roasted? Intuitively, it seems as if roasting concentrates and 'closes off' vegetables, where steaming or boiling 'opens them up'.

                                                                                                        1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                          It's my impression that they're just not that absorbant. I felt that by boiling them they would be fully saturated, and have less chance of absorbing. Imagine boiling a sponge; it wouldn't absorb much liquid after that! But that's probably not really a parallel. I just don't think leafy vegetables can really absorb much cream. You can saturate lettuce with dressing, but it doesn't really absorb it. At least not in my mind, but who knows?

                                                                                                          Anyway, it wasn't bad, Mr. NS liked it. Just not the same wonderful effect as a potato gratin!

                                                                                                      2. About a month late, but I finally made the celery root gratin for New Years dinner. I used this recipe, that was referenced here about half way through the thread.


                                                                                                        We enjoyed it, the only deviation from the recipe was that I don't cook with heavy cream anymore, so we used low fat milk. And we used two cups of cheese, inadvertently, as I gave my Mom the wrong sized measure to fill. There was a bit of watery liquid left in the bottom of the dish, which I'm sure the low fat milk contributed too. But it was very tasty, went well with the roast tri tip I had made, and I would make it again.