Ok…so, if you know me, you know that there’s nothing I disdain more than potatoes from a box (or microwave plastic bowl). ANYONE can make potatoes, but granted, they take a bit longer than 30 seconds to prepare. But boxed potatoes taste like cardboard to me, and well, I just can’t abide. My mother used to make Potato Au Gratin from a box all the time and I HATED it. I would push the goopy, cardboardy, mess around my plate until my begging to leave the table became insufferable.
THESE potatoes will make you forget all about those cardboard potatoes though. And they are super easy! You’ll note that they may look similar to the French (Not Fussy) Eggs, because well, yes, all of my favorite things are included. But, heck, it just means if you can cook breakfast, you can cook a side dish for a well planned dinner too – go you! Give yourself some time with these though – my first test resulted in DJ Snuggle Monster and I eating VERY crispy potato chips (hey – in my defense he was hungry and wanted steak and potatoes for dinner…so I had to think fast). So, don’t toss them in with 15 minutes until dinnertime.
Timing: 1 hour 10 minutes
- 2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups melty shredded cheese (yeah, go ahead and use those bags of pre-shredded/combo cheeses or use a combo of your own choice)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and Pepper
- 3 tablespoons thyme leaves
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Slice your potatoes as thin as you can into rounds. But, hey, let’s not cut off any fingers. If you can get 1/8 of an inch of even 1/4 of an inch, go with it. Just try to keep all of the thickness uniform and adjust your cooking time – check the doneness with a fork into a potato. If it slides through without any resistance, their done.
Smear or dollop one tablespoon of the butter on the bottom of a small casserole or oven proof dish. Lay in your potato slices, overlapping just slightly (what fancy folk might call shingling). Do this in rows until the bottom of the dish is covered. Salt and pepper. Sprinkle in the equivalent of one garlic clove over this layer. Drizzle 1/4 cup of your heavy cream evenly over your potato slices. Sprinkle one tablespoon of thyme leaves on the layer. Then add 1/2 cup of cheese in an even layer. Repeat the process staring with the potatoes (skip the butter). Depending on the size of your dish, you should be able to get 2-3 layers. On your last layer, finish with cheese as usual and then use the remaining tablespoon of butter to dot the top.
Pop her in the oven and don’t mess with her for at least 45 minutes. Test your potatoes for doneness. It might take up to 60 minutes, since there are some layers. Once you think it’s done, turn the oven to broil, and crunch up the top for a good 2 minutes. Let stand for about 5-7 minutes once you take it out of the oven for it to set up (like a lasagna, you know) and so it doesn’t burn your face off. Then enjoy potatoes au gratin the way they should be made.