Can we just get the obvious out of the way first? These potatoes? Not likely to win any awards for most beautiful dish. When food is this cheesy and comforting though, it's hard to hate it for being ugly :)
We're a week early, but it's already felt like Thanksgiving for quite a few days in our house. I cooked a turkey earlier in the week and have been trying out a few side dishes too. It's been a feast every night! Well, for me anyway - Shane's not into sweet potatoes or veggies, so I knew I wanted to make a potato dish he'd like as well but with so many options, it was tough to narrow down. Mashed potatoes are traditional at our Thanksgiving table, so I took this opportunity to try something a little different with this gratin.
I often avoid gratins because they usually require thinly slicing a bunch of potatoes and then layering them. I'm not always opposed to labor intensive/time-consuming dishes, but when it comes to potatoes, I don't find it necessary. This cheesy potato gratin eliminates that fussiness though! The potatoes are cut into chunks and first simmered in a creamy sauce made with my absolute favorite cheese, Gruyère. Then Parmesan cheese is sprinkled over the top and the whole thing is baked until the cheese has browned and the potatoes are tender. This gratin is the very essence of comfort food. Oh, and did I mention it's all made entirely in one pan too? Definitely a winner all around, and a great side dish for Thanksgiving if you're looking to switch things up!
Cheesy Potato Gratin
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
3 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Add the butter to a 10-inch nonstick pan set over medium heat. When the butter is melted and hot, add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has softened, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the shallot and, stirring constantly, cook for 1-2 minutes. Gradually mix in the chicken broth and heavy cream, then add the Gruyère and thyme and continue stirring until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Add the potatoes, stirring to coat them with the sauce (it may be a tight squeeze in the pan, but they'll shrink a bit as they cook). Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes (still on medium heat).
Uncover the pan and give the potatoes a quick stir then sprinkle the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the top of them. Transfer the pan to the oven (uncovered) and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cheese on top has browned and the sauce is bubbling around the edges. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.