This classic French potato gratin dish is world famous, and rightly so! I am very happy to have this as a main meal, with just some crusty bread baguette and a nice roast lamb. I have heard that this famous dish was created as a way of encouraging the “Dauphin” (the young prince destined to become King Henri II), to eat up his vegetables, hence the name! Maybe – it is certainly just as popular with children, as it is with adults. Try to slice the potatoes as thinly as possible for the best results. A wonderful accompaniment for all sorts of roast meats, stews, casseroles and poultry
1Kg 500g potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (such as Desiree, Golden Wonder, Maris Piper, Idaho or King Edward)
6 ounces gruyere cheese, grated
3/4 pint double cream
fresh ground black pepper
2 -4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 ounce butter
cheese, for topping (optional)
1 Preheat the oven to 300F/150C/gas mark 2.
2 Take a heavy-bottomed dish or an ovenproof gratin dish (a Le Creuset is ideal – the potatoes tend not to catch), and grease it will with some of the butter.
3 Layer the potato slices in the dish, slightly overlapping each other, seasoning lightly with the salt and pepper, and sprinkling a liberal amount of cheese on each layer.
4 Sprinkle cheese on the top of the last layer.
5 Put the double cream, garlic and sprigs of thyme in a pan and bring to them gently to the boil, then remove the thyme and pour hot cream over the potatoes.
6 Dot the top of the gratin with the remaining butter and some extra cheese if you wish, and bake for about 1 hr to 1 1/2 hrs, or until the potatoes are soft, and the top is crispy and golden brown.
7 Serve bubbling hot as a main meal or as an accompaniment.