A few years ago, my aunt taught me an easy potato gratin recipe that sort of stuck with me. I made it for a Valentine’s Day potluck my senior year of high school. It was an interesting occasion because we were actually celebrating a belated Secret Santa gift exchange in February. Somehow with college applications, school, and all the crazy things we did in high school, Christmas was pushed back two months. There were an array of dishes that appeared at the potluck. Everything from caramel apples and macaroni and cheese to Popeye’s fried chicken. I don’t really remember the food or if the gratin was a hit, but I do remember the company I was with, being ridiculously full, and the fun moments and gifts we shared that day. I feel like that’s the essence of Thanksgiving; sharing a meal with people we love and enjoying all the laughs that spill in between. Life seems to get so busy that it seems like we need occasions like Thanksgiving or Valentine’s/Christmas just to spend time with family and friends.
Geez, so profound for a simple potato gratin! I guess I just had a nostalgic moment and the realization that it’s been awhile since all those girls have gotten together. Anyhow, I think this would be a really great side dish for Thanksgiving because it doesn’t require a lot of active time. I love mashed potatoes, but let’s be honest, the mashing is hard! Mine never come out smooth and fluffy. If you have a few complicated dishes planned, then you may want to consider foregoing the mashed potatoes and making this gratin instead.
The gratin is creamy without fuss. It’s nice because there aren’t very many flavors to compete with the potatoes. Next time, I would definitely add some type of grated white cheese, most likely Swiss. I definitely think it would add another source of creaminess while still highlight the potatoes.
1 1/2 lbs potatoes, or 4 medium potatoes
2 cups milk
1 garlic clove
Salt and pepper
1 to 2 cups grated swiss cheese, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Halve the garlic and rub the inside of a medium casserole dish. Wash and peel the potatoes and slice very thinly, preferably with a mandolin. Add salt and pepper to milk and stir. Place a layer potatoes, then cheese, and pour a portion of the milk mixture on top. Repeat until all the potatoes are used. Bake for 30 minutes. Lower the heat to 300 degrees F and bake for another 1 1/2 hours. If potatoes start to dry out place a sheet of aluminum foil over the casserole dish.