Pommes Dauphinois (Potato Gratin)
Potatoes Dauphinois is quite simply potatoes sliced thinly and cooked in cream. While the method is simple, the finished product is exquisite. I make this dish for my family during the week, and serve it to guests when I entertain. It does not matter whether I am serving a simple or extravagant meal; this side dish always brings exclamations of delight.
There are many versions of Potatoes Dauphinois, some call for cheese, some require you to boil the potatoes in milk first, and then strain them before layering them in a baking dish and covering with cream. It is really a matter of preference, but I find this method to be easy and produce a lovely, silky gratin. Tonight I am serving it with a balsamic roasted chicken. The pan drippings from the chicken become a lovely sauce, and I thought these potatoes (without the cheese) would be a terrific accompaniment. You can bake these in a casserole/baking dish, but I like to make them in a 9-inch pie plate and cut them into wedges. The key to being able to cut them perfectly is to let the potatoes rest after cooking for a full 30 minutes. They will stay warm during this time, and it allows the cream to seep into the potatoes so that you can cut the perfect slice.
- 2 ½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes
- 2 cloves of garlic, split in half
- One bay leaf
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
Put the heavy cream, garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper in a saucepan and simmer over low heat.
While, the cream is heating, peel the potatoes and slice them very thin (about 1/8 inch thick).
Butter the pie plate or casserole and arrange the potato slices so that they are overlapping.
Once you have covered the bottom of the pan, pour a few tablespoons of the cream over the potatoes. You want enough cream on the potatoes to go into the nooks and crannies between the slices.
Continue layering the potatoes and the cream until you have filled the pan (making sure to be generous with the cream on the last layer of potatoes.
Place the pie plate on a parchment lined baking sheet (to prevent a mess in your oven when the cream starts to bubble), and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour.
The Elegant Occasion Note: If the potatoes are getting too brown, loosely cover with foil.
Remove from the oven and tent with foil (if you have not already). Let the potatoes rest for 30 minutes, and then cut and serve immediately.
The Elegant Occasion Note: If you would like to add cheese to this dish, simply grate about 1 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle it over each layer of the potatoes after you have added the cream. Top the last layer with the remaining cheese and bake.