By now, most of you know Molly Stevens is one our most revered chefs. So when we went looking for a potato gratin for the Christmas Eve meal, her name popped up in the search and we knew we had a winner. This gratin tastes more complex than simple cheese and potatoes—it’s comfort food yet sophisticated at the same time.
By no means diet-friendly, the Three-Cheese Potato Gratin is a calorie-buster with all of the whole milk, heavy cream, cheeses and butter (we even increase the amount of the cheeses.) But good God, it’s heavenly!! So if you are counting calories, (which at some point in our lives most of us are) just eat a small portion.
To create, it was a group effort with Russ, his son Dan and me all pitching in to assemble the casserole. Dan did a great job slicing the potatoes on the mandoline and grating the cheeses, while Russ prepared the milk and cream mixture. I buttered the dish and started the layering process, taking turns with Dan until complete.
With our standing Prime Rib Roast, and Haricot Verts with Pancetta (recipe follows), the gratin was a perfect match and made for a divine Christmas Eve dinner.
- 2 tsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 2 to 3 sprigs rosemary, 3 inches long
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 oz. grated Swiss cheese (about 1 cup)
- 2 oz. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 lb. russet potatoes (3 to 4 medium)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 4 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled (about 2/3 cup)
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with the butter.
- Pour the milk and cream into a small saucepan. Add the garlic, rosemary, and nutmeg. Bring just to a simmer, cover, and remove from the heat. Set aside to infuse for at least 20 minutes. Combine the Swiss cheese and Parmigiano in a bowl.
- Peel the potatoes and, using a mandoline or your sharpest knife, slice them into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Arrange about one-third of the potatoes in a single overlapping layer in the baking dish, season with kosher salt and white pepper, and top with one-third of the Swiss-Parmigiano mix. Scatter over half of the goat cheese. Add a second overlapping layer of potatoes, more salt and white pepper, another third of the Swiss-Parmigiano mix, and the remaining goat cheese. Make a third layer with the remaining potatoes and season with salt and white pepper. Press down lightly to compact the layer
- Remove the garlic and rosemary from the infused cream, and discard them. Set the cream over medium-high heat and watch carefully until it just begins to simmer; don’t let it boil. Pour the cream over the potatoes and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
- Set the baking dish on the foil-lined baking sheet, and bake until the top is deeply brown and the potatoes are completely tender when poked with a skewer, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Pancetta Green Beans
- 12 ounces haricot green beans, trimmed
- 3 ounces pancetta, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain. Transfer to bowl of ice water; cool 5 minutes. Drain. Transfer beans to paper towels and pat dry.
Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and sauté until crisp, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Increase heat to medium-high. Add butter to same skillet.
Add beans and stir until heated through, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in pancetta.