There’s a ton of great ingredients I look forward to in the fall. Brussels sprouts, acorn squash, cranberries . . . all ingredients that are a must on any Thanksgiving table. But my absolute favorite is the ordinary potato. Actually, more like two ingredients: potatoes and cream. There’s always some variation of a dish incorporating potato, cream and butter on my Thanksgiving table. Today, I’ve changed up the classic potato gratin by adding potato’s two best friends: bacon and leeks. Everyone knows bacon works with just about anything and leeks infuse the entire dish with that subtle sweet onion flavor. YUM!
- 2 1/2 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
- 1/2 pound of thick-cut bacon
- 2 pounds of leeks, including the green tops
- 2 pints of heavy cream
- sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- handful of freshly-grated grated parmesan (optional)
Photography shot with the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 digital SLR camera. Small in size, enormous in performance.
Clean the leeks by removing the top green fronds. Slice each stem down the middle and run under water to remove any dirt. Leeks can be very dirty so make sure to be thorough! Slice the leeks, discarding the end root, and set aside.
Slice the bacon into small cubes or lardons. Fry in a pan over medium high heat until the bacon is lightly crisped. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. With the heat still on add the leeks in and sauté for about 7-10 minutes until softened and starting to caramelize. Turn the heat off and combine bacon with the leeks.
Slice the potatoes thinly, about 1/16 inch thick. To assemble the gratin, start by pouring a small amount of cream just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Lay the potatoes in rows in a shingle pattern. Lightly season the potatoes with salt and pepper (don’t forget the bacon will add saltiness too). Add about 1/4 of the leek-bacon mixture over the potatoes.
Add another layer of potatoes, lightly season them and then add more cream until it is just barely covered. Use your fingers to press down to make sure the cream covers the potatoes. Add another 1/4 of the leek-bacon mixture. Repeat until you’ve used up all the potatoes and leek-bacon mixture. The cream should just cover the potatoes.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the foil and scatter the top with parmesan cheese. This is optional, you could just uncover and return it to the oven and it will still brown nicely with just cream. Increase the temperature to 425 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes until the top is nicely browned.
Allow the gratin to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Dig in friends!
(images by HonestlyYUM)