This recipe is doubly rare for this site. First off, it is decidedly un-Paleo, given that its two main ingredients are potatoes and an obscene amount of cream. That’s without even mentioning the gratuitous cheese topping. Secondly, it’s not really my recipe at all, but a slight adaptation of Nigella Lawson’s. That said, this is one of my all time ultimate treats, given that I’m not intolerant of occasional amounts of good quality dairy. In fact, I limit the appearance of this dish in my home to twice a year (at Thanksgiving and Christmas), so it’s all the more special for that.
The method is somewhat unusual, starting off on the stovetop before being finished in the oven, but it produces an infinitely superior and decadent texture as a result while avoiding the common ovenbaked gratin pitfall: that bite of not-quite-cooked-potato. The only real adaptations I made were to add more garlic and to replace the whole milk with heavy cream. Her original recipe called for “double cream” which is much richer at 48% butterfat than American heavy cream at an average of only 36% butterfat, so I didn’t use the mixture of cream and milk she calls for. Instead, I used all heavy whipping cream – otherwise the gratin comes out much more on the runny side. The only other change I made was to up the garlic factor because I love the stuff! Oh, and then topped it with cheese. Because if I’m already eating ALL THE DAIRY then why the heck not?!
I’m afraid this post is somewhat lacking in photos because I never intended to put this recipe up in the first place but enough people asked for the recipe that I decided to share it anyway. And since I won’t be making it again until November next year, these will have to do! This makes a 9 x 13 tray which is enough for about 8 people, but it halves nicely into an 8 x 8 if you don’t want that much. Or if you don’t want the temptation in the house. Ahem. Lastly, if you are going to eat dairy, please please make sure it’s good quality and free from preservatives! I love Kerrygold butter and cheese as it is produced from the milk of grass fed cows.
Finely slice your potatoes to 1/4 inch thick or less, depending on how you like them. Use a mandoline or a food processor to do this so that your slices are even. Unless you’re a ninja with a knive! I don’t think I could cut two slices the same size if my life depended on it! Slice your onion the same way.
Put the potato and onion slices into a large nonstick pan and cover with the cream. Add the peeled and slightly smashed up garlic cloves to the pan and heat over low to a simmer. Simmer the pan until the potatoes are cooked through, stirring every now and then to avoid burning on the bottom. Do not let the mixture boil as this will break the cream. Over a low heat this may take about 45 minutes but it doesn’t have to be stirred / watched constantly. Taste throughout and season as you wish.
The smaller pieces of potato from the ends will cook before the larger pieces and break down into the cream: this is a good thing! It helps to thicken up the cream even further which is what gives it such a wonderful texture, so don’t worry when this happens. When the potatoes are nearly done, preheat your oven to 500F and butter the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Grate the amount of cheese you want.
Remove the potato mixture from the stovetop and tip into your buttered dish. If you have any extra butter left over from greasing the dish, dot it over the top of the potato mixture. Top with cheese if you want and then bake for 15 minutes or until the top is evenly golden brown. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
I’ve included a picture below of what the gratin looks like when sliced cold as you can see the lovely layers of cream between the potato slices. Yum!
Ridiculous Potato Gratin
This potato gratin is a glorious treat meal side made from simmering potatoes in cream until tender and then oven baking to finish. Use grass fed cream!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- 4 1/2 pounds Russet / baking potatoes
- 4 cups heavy whipping cream, no carrageenan or additives
- 1 onion
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons grass fed butter
- Optional: grass fed cheese to taste for the topping
- Peel and thinly slice potatoes to 1/4 inch thick or less, using a mandoline or food processor. Do the same to the onion.
- Put your potatoes and onion in a large nonstick pan and cover with the cream. Add the smashed up garlic cloves and place over a low heat.
- Simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Do not boil as this will break the cream. Taste throughout and season as you wish.
- Preheat the oven to 500F.
- Rub the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 inch oven proof pan with the butter. Grate the cheddar.
- When the potatoes are cooked through and the mixture has thickened, pour into the greased pan. If you have any remaining butter, dot it across the top, then top with grated cheese.
- Put the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
- Rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.