Scalloped Potatoes or Potato Leek Gratin

We didn’t eat scalloped potatoes very often when I was growing up.  Scalloped potatoes typically made an appearance at family pot lucks and Christmas dinner.  I never particularly minded them to be honest.  This week’s New York Times featured a recipe they called Potato Leek Gratin.  I made it up for dinner on Saturday night and it was good.  Really good.  The leftovers were even better.  It was the kind of dish I might even make the day ahead of time so all the flavours have a chance to get to know one another.  Here’s the rub.  Halfway through assembling the gratin, I realized, this dish is basically scalloped potatoes.  I have never made scalloped potatoes, but I suspect it’s a lot like this recipe.  What do you think?

Looks a lot like scalloped potatoes...doesn't it?

Cooking down the leeks

Cream, nutmeg, etc...

Leeks topping the potatoes...making it fancy

Cheese generously topping the leeks and potatoes

So much flavour going on...very hot..make sure you let it cool slightly

Potato Leek Gratin/Fancy Scalloped Potatoes – adapted from the New York Times, Melissa Clark

2 tbsp butter
2 large leeks, trimmed, halved length wise and washed
1 1/2 lb peeled potatoes, approximately 3 fist sized potatoes
salt and pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 c cream
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 c Gruyere cheese, grated

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Butter your gratin dish.  I don’t have a gratin dish so used my le creuset and it was just dandy.  Slice the leeks thinly.  Using a mandoline (or a sharp knife) slice the potatoes into 1/8″ rounds.  Toss with salt and pepper and layer in the gratin dish.  Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat.  Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper.  Add the thyme.  Cook together until the leeks are lightly golden and soft.  Spread the leeks over the potatoes.  Add the cream, garlic, and bay leaf to the now empty pot that held the leeks.  Bring it to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pot to release all the brown bits off the bottom.  Simmer gently for 5 minutes.  Add the nutmeg.  Pour over the leeks and potatoes.  Top with Gruyere.  Cover with foil (or the lid of your le creuset) and baked for 40 minutes.  After 40 minutes, uncover and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.  Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

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