This is my favorite au gratin potatoes recipe and my side dish of choice to serve with baked ham. It's rich, creamy, and cheesy and always a hit with our guests. With a food processor to shred the cheese and slice the potatoes, it's pretty easy to put together. The potatoes and cheese are layered and a mixture of heavy cream, shallots, herbs, and salt and pepper poured over before finishing with a little more cheese and popping in the oven.
Just remember to allow for plenty of time - an hour covered, 30 minutes to brown, and 10 minutes to cool. I wouldn't suggest substituting the heavy cream with something lighter. It just isn't as good! This is based on a recipe from a now-closed Arizona restaurant called Steamers Genuine. It serves 8.
2 cups of heavy cream
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme leaves
2-1/2 teaspoons of salt (I like to use Penzey's shallot salt)
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 pounds of russet potatoes
8 ounces of grated sharp white cheddar cheese (I like the big blocks of Tillamook)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish with softened butter.
Whisk cream, shallots, herbs, salt and pepper together.
Peel potatoes (as you go, immerse them in water to prevent browning). Drain and slice thinly, about a quarter inch thick. I use a mandoline or food processor.
Layer half of potatoes in the dish, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup of cheese.
Top with the rest of the potatoes. Gently press down to even the layers. Pour cream mixture over the potatoes.
Sprinkle with the rest of the cheddar.
Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
Uncover (it will look soupy). Bake for 30-45 minutes more or until potatoes are tender and the gratin is golden brown and bubbling. If there seems to be too much liquid, just bake longer until the cream is absorbed.
Cool for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving. I like to finish with black truffle salt from AZ's GoLbSalt.
I’ve served this with baked ham, grilled steaks, beef wellington, roast chicken, and ribs. Tip: It makes a great dish for a buffet brunch too.