Potato Gratin with Mushrooms and Gruyere

I have lots of Thanksgiving recipes to share. But several days after the fact, who wants them? If you’re like me, you’ve been out of  Thanksgiving mode for several days now. In other words, there’s no point to blog about our Thanksgiving dinner, no matter how dreamy it was.

When it comes to this potato gratin, I’m going to make an exception. Yes, it was on our table Thursday. It’s just too exceptional not to mention. This dish has lots of star power —  too much, actually, for Thanksgiving. The thin potato layers are parboiled in cream. In the middle of the layers are chopped leeks and mushrooms, giving the gratin a nice level of earthiness. Gruyere cheese tops it off. This is best for a winter meal, paired with something simple, like roast chicken.

I found this recipe last week, while simultaneously trying to finish a story and figure out what potatoes to make for Thanksgiving. It was one of a dozen or more potato gratin recipes on Epicurious. I’ve made several versions of potato gratin in the past. Some are too creamy. This was perfect.

The key to any good potato gratin is slicing potatoes so they’re thin and uniformly sliced. I highly recommend one of these hand-held mandoline slicers. They’re inexpensive and faster than a chef’s knife. They’re also easier to use than a great big mandoline, which can be a hassle to clean. Just remember to use the finger guard. Trust me.

Potato Gratin with Mushrooms and Gruyere
slightly adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2010

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cups finely chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 3 large)
1 pound 1/2-inch cubes assorted mushrooms (such as crimini, baby portobellas, stemmed shiitake; about 10 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon (or more) salt
1/2 teaspoon (or more) freshly ground black pepper
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyère cheese

Heat 1/4 cup oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks; sauté until soft and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté until soft and liquid evaporates, 7 to 8 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. 

Preheat oven to 375°F. Pat potato slices dry with kitchen towel. Combine cream, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in large pot. Add potatoes. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid; simmer until cream is reduced by about half and potatoes are partially cooked, stirring often and watching closely to prevent burning, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Brush 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with oil. Transfer half of the potato mixture to dish, spreading the potatoes in an even layer. Spoon mushroom mixture evenly over the potatoes. Spoon remaining potato mixture over the mushrooms, spreading in even layer. Sprinkle cheese on top. Cover with foil, tenting in center to prevent cheese from sticking to foil. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until potatoes are tender and top is brown, 20 to 25 minutes longer. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8 to 10.


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