When you’re cooking for a large party, it’s very important to keep things as simple as possible. If you’re making a complicated main dish, choose simple sides. Or ones that can be prepared in advance, so that when you’re in the “home stretch” (that stressful and vital time when guests have already arrived but you’re trying to finish cooking without burning or ruining anything and manage to talk to people at the same time), the sides will be easy. I have to admit, I’m not exactly my nicest self during the home stretch. For this reason, I’m always looking for ways to minimize the commotion.
This Potato Gratin recipe is a perfect solution. It can be prepared in advanced and then placed in the oven about one hour and fifteen minutes before guests arrive, giving you that time to focus on your other dishes. Be sure to slice the potatoes very thin so that you can make enough layers. The fine layering is what gives it exquisite texture. I doubled and adjusted this recipe from the original version from Bon Appétit February, 2001 to serve twelve people. I was excited to serve this with the pork tenderloin with cherry port sauce as the sweet tart cherries pair beautifully with goat cheese. It was so wonderful. Anna said it stole the show.
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 2 cups crumbled soft fresh goat cheese (about 10 ounces)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously butter a large glass baking dish. Whisk first 7 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Arrange 1/6 of potatoes in bottom of prepared dish, overlapping slightly and covering completely. Pour 1/6 of cream mixture over. Repeat layering potatoes and cream mixture 5 more times. Bake uncovered until potatoes are tender and top is golden brown in spots, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Serve hot.