I’m a girl who loves her carbs. You can serve me the most beautiful piece of steak or fish with some gorgeous vegetables and, invariably, my first taste is going to be the rice or potato or pasta or bread or whatever other starch is on the plate. Paleo diet, my butt. No, really, my butt. It’s ever-growing and survives and thrives, I suspect, based on me constantly feeding it delicious and tasty carbs.
And if you can throw in some savory and delicious fats with those carbs, so much the better! Case in point: Dauphinoise Potatoes. This is basically a fancy kind of scalloped potatoes or potato gratin. Some recipes call for cheese but really, you don’t need it with all of the other flavors going on. If you want to add cheese, I’d recommend a TINY sprinkling of good Parmesan or some Gruyere over the top layer but I don’t think you’ll miss it.
When I make this recipe, I use my mandoline. I’ve mentioned it in a previous post about my favorite kitchen gadgets and this is one of those times that a mandoline is so handy. You can absolutely slice your potatoes by hand, but the mandoline makes fast and easy work of it. And they are such beautiful, uniform slices! I try to make mine as thin as possible and they come out so beautifully when you cook them and, since they are all the same size and thickness, they’ll be cooked evenly . That really is the only trick to this recipe.This is not a difficult recipe but it sounds and looks so very fancy!
You could do this with fancy colored potatoes or really any kind of starchy potato, but I do this with a simple Yukon gold. I like to use smaller potatoes so that my potato rounds are easier to fit in the casserole (and so they look more delicate). Also, I like the combination of leeks and potatoes. Leeks aren’t found in most Dauphinoise Potato recipes so you could certainly leave them out. Your top layer will simply be potatoes though. The leeks, if you use them, will be tucked away between the velvety layers of potatoes.
Y’all, this would be a perfect side for your holiday meal. It’s simple and comforting enough that you aren’t going to kill yourself making it. And it’s fancy enough to make it special. Give it a shot and impress your family and friends with your cooking chops!
- 2 1/2 lbs small starchy potatoes, peeled
- 2 or 3 sprigs thyme
- 2 cups cream (or a combination of whole milk and cream)
- 3 large cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 medium leek, optional (this is not traditional, I just really like it here)
- 1 T butter, plus extra for greasing casserole
- 1 t salt
- pinch of nutmeg
- small grating of Parmigiano Reggiano or Gruyere cheese, optional
Preheat oven to 350F.
Bring cream, thyme and 2 cloves of garlic to a simmer over medium low heat. Add nutmeg (which I totally forgot this time). Simmer (don’t bring to a hard boil!) while you do everything else.
If using leeks, cut dark green parts and a bit of the root end off of leek and discard. Cut leek in half lengthwise and then slice into thin half moons. Place sliced leeks into a deep bowl of water and swirl around with your fingers. Sand and grit will sink to bottom of bowl. Gently scoop out leeks with your fingers and drain on paper towel making sure not to pick up any of the grit. Allow leeks to drain well on the towels, squeezing any excess water out as needed.
Heat butter in small saute pan and saute leeks over medium heat until fragrant and tender, about five minutes. Set aside.
Set mandoline to slice your potatoes to 1/8-1/4 inch thick. If you don’t have a mandoline, simply slice them as thinly and evenly as possible. Slice all potatoes and place them in a bowl of very cold water so that they don’t turn brown while you are prepping everything else.
Rub the extra smashed garlic clove all around the inside of a 2-3 quart casserole and then discard. Generously butter the casserole dish.
Drain potatoes and arrange in concentric circles around casserole dish, slightly overlapping each potato slice. The thinner they are, the more layers you will have. Add a small sprinkling of leeks between layers. You will have lots of layers so you may want to only do the leeks every two or three layers. Sprinkle with a little of the salt every now and then. Your last layer should be a beautiful layer of potatoes only (I try to save the “prettiest” slices for the last couple of layers).
Remove garlic pieces and thyme stems from cream with slotted spoon. Carefully pour seasoned cream over potatoes in casserole. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Carefully remove foil and continue to bake for 30-45 minutes until brown and bubbly and most of the cream has been absorbed.
Remove from oven and allow to cool and set for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Apply directly to thighs and make a mental note to buy new pants next week.