Our holiday dinner tables are never complete without a rich and cheesy potato dish. When I really want to impress, I break out this recipe for Creamy Garlic Potatoes Au Gratin. It is rich. It is creamy. It is garlicky. And it is always completely gone by the end of the meal. In fact, I have been known to make a second dish that I stash away to eat with leftover ham or turkey over the few leftover days after a big holiday meal.
When you look this recipe over, you’ll see why it is not an every day dish! Creamy Garlic Potatoes Au Gratin does not skimp on butter or heavy cream. It is also not an inexpensive dish to make. Where I live, Yukon Gold potatoes always cost a little more than other kinds of potatoes. Gruyere cheese is also not an inexpensive cheese, and this recipe calls for 2 cups grated.
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Gruyere is basically irreplacable in this dish in my opnion. It melts beautifully and it packs a lot of rich flavor. I have included a list of possible cheese substitutions, but if you possibly can, get some Gruyere. If you must substitute, substitute with another good quality aged cheese that will also bring a good, strong flavor to the dish. A medium Cheddar or Colby just isn’t going to cut the mustard with this one.
Slicing the potatoes for this dish can be a bit tedious. I like to use a mandolin slicer. Some food processors have slicer attachments that will slice your potatoes for you. If you have such a wondrous thing, a recipe like this is a good time to use it! Don’t panic if you have to slice the potatoes by hand, it certainly can be done. In my experiences, the sliced should be about 1/8” thick. Too thin and they’ll fall apart when you boil them, but much thicker and you’ll need to bake the dish for much longer than the time listed in the recipe. If your slices aren’t all exactly the same thickness, that’s just fine — it will taste good regardless — the only concern is how long it takes to cook.
Potatoes, milk, and cream can be a bit bland on their own, so seasoning with salt and pepper is crucial to developing flavor. Be sure to add the full teaspoon of salt to the cream mixture. When a dish is well-seasoned with salt, it shouldn’t taste salty, it should just taste like whatever it is, but more so. I also recommend sprinkling a little salt and pepper on each layer of potatoes just to make sure you turn out a flavorful, delicious dish.