If you're looking for a crowd-pleasing side dish for your Christmas dinner or brunch, this one is hard to beat. It's cheesy, baked potatoes au gratin that you can assemble in advance and then cook up after your turkey, ham, roast or whatever comes out of the oven. It's become a holiday staple at our house.
2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and sliced very thin (I use a mandolin for this)
2 cups heavy cream
leaves from 4-5 thyme sprigs
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (don't skimp on the cheese and use something inferior)
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Peel and slice the potatoes almost paper thin. You could do this with a knife, but it's much quicker and easier with a mandolin or V-slicer.
Place the potato slices in a large bowl.
Combine the potatoes with all the other ingredients, reserving 1/2 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano and 1 Tbs. of the chives for later use.
Mix the ingredients well and turn into a casserole dish, flattening the potatoes out with a spatula.
Top the potatoes with the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
Remove the potatoes au gratin when the gratin is bubbly and the potatoes are tender. I usually turn on the broiler briefly at the end of the cooking time to nicely brown the potatoes and give it a little crust.
Garnish with the remaining tablespoon of minced chives.
Serve with your favorite entree and enjoy!
Photos by Ted Scheffler