The traditional regional French dish based on potatoes and crème fraiche which originated in the historic Dauphine region in south-eastern France is the inspiration for my version of Gratin dauphinoise.
Gratin is a culinary technique in which an ingredient is topped with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg and/or butter. The biggest difference between the traditional Gratin dauphinoise and my version is the crème fraiche. It’s not readily available near me and so I use half and half instead.
Gratin dauphinoise is a rich, cheesy dish that elevates the usual potatoes au gratin.
I know some people who only make any kind of au gratin potatoes at the holidays. But Gratin dauphinoise is not hard to make so I serve it when I want a silky, indulgent potato dish.
I start by slicing about 6 or 7 potatoes very thin. It’s easy to get the paper-thin slices I want using a mandolin slicer. My slicing skills aren’t as precise as I’d like so using my mandolin means my potatoes are uniform and will cook evenly. I don’t even peel the potatoes! Heck, most of the nutrition is in the peels any way and not peeling them saves me time. After slicing, I put the potatoes into a buttered 9 x 13 inch casserole dish I’ve buttered.
Then I dice a medium onion.
Next I melt 1/4 cup of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the onion. I cook the onions for about 2 minutes. They should be tender but not soft.
When the onions are tender I stir in a tablespoon of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, and about 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. I stir this constantly until the flour is combined with the onions and butter.
Now for the ingredients that make this dish so rich!
I slowly stir in 2 cups of half and half and 1 1/2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese. Stirring constantly I bring the mixture to a boil.
After pouring the cheese sauce over the potatoes and I bake them at 375 degrees for about an hour; until the potatoes are tender.
I take the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese and sprinkle it over the potatoes then I melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and mix it with 1 cup of plain Panko breadcrumbs and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
When the breadcrumbs are moistened I spread them over the potatoes and put the casserole back in the oven for about 15 – 18 minutes. I want the breadcrumbs to be a nice golden brown.
Gratin dauphinoise makes me feel I’m serving something a step above potatoes au gratin.
Gratin dauphinoise is a rich, silky potato dish that's a step above ordinary potatoes au gratin!
- 6 – 7 medium baking potatoes
- 1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided + more for buttering dish
- 1 medium onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups half and half
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
- 1/2 cup plain Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Wash potatoes but don’t peel them.
- Slice into very thin slices (about 1/8 inch).
- In a large saucepan over medium heat melt 1/4 cup of the butter.
- Add the diced onion to the butter and cook until just tender (about 2 minutes).
- Stir in flour, salt, and pepper, stirring constantly until the flour is combined with the onions and butter.
- Slowly stir in half and half and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese.
- Heat until boiling, stirring constantly.
- Spread the sliced potatoes in an ungreased 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.
- Pour the hot cheese sauce over potatoes.
- Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, melt remaining butter.
- Mix melted butter with Panko breadcrumbs and garlic powder until breadcrumbs are moistened.
- Remove potatoes from oven and spread remaining cheese over them.
- Top with breadcrumb mixture.
- Return to oven and bake for an additional 15 – 18 minutes (until breadcrumbs are golden brown and cheese is bubbling through).
- Serve hot.
Leave the potatoes unpeeled to save time and add nutrition.