Potatoes and leeks are made to be in gratins! But most potato leek gratin recipes don’t have enough leeks. A potato leek gratin where you can hardly tell there are leeks in the recipe just doesn’t do it for me, so I made my own recipe which full of tasty leeks and creamy potatoes.
I hope everyone in the US had a great Thanksgiving!
We had a quiet one at home since we also all had terrible colds. 🙂 Luckily, my cold was the first to arrive so I was well enough to make all sorts of tasty Thanksgiving food – turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, apple pie, and more.
And, now that Thanksgiving is done and my cold has been banished, it is time to start sharing all my winter and holiday recipes with y’all. One thing about having a little vacation (we went to Napa!) and then an enforced need to step back from work since I spent much of the last week or so sleeping, is that I am eager to get back to things.
I have cookies, a tart, a great holiday dinner, some pancakes, among other recipes all on my list to photograph and post.
And, to start it off, a gratin! I do love gratins and I thought a leek and potato gratin would be perfect for Christmas dinner, or New Years, or maybe for a wintery dinner party. It’s creamy, full of leeks, and with plenty of cheddar layered in the potatoes.
Oh, and bacon! I went with some diced pancetta but a diced thick cut American bacon would work as well. I just thought the recipe needed a little more oomph you know? And you can’t go wrong with a little bit of bacon. 🙂 Or so I’m told.
A little bacon, lots of leeks (it’s a LEEK and potato gratin!), a spoonful of mustard to make the flavor of the leeks pop, and a bit of brandy just because. These are the flavors which set it apart from a classic potato gratin
I also thought that the sharper flavor of cheddar would be fun to use instead of the traditional gruyere. Both do work quite well in the recipe, but cheddar does give it a little edge which is really nice.
Since the full recipe is rather big and great for a party, I halved the recipe to test with our small family. For that I used my little casserole dish (it’s so cute!) and it was perfect for the husband and me to have for dinner with some leftover to enjoy for lunch.
Full recipe or half recipe, this leek and potato gratin is great, warming side dish full of creamy, cheesy flavor. Just make sure you have an hour and half before you want to eat because no one like undercooked gratin so you’re going to want it to be tender all the way through.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Potato Leek Gratin with Cheddar and Pancetta
- 4 oz pancetta, diced
- 6 leeks, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp brandy
- 2 lb (about 6 medium) yellow potatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 cup half and half
- 6 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a large (approx. 13x9) casserole dish with olive oil.
- Put a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until it's browned and much of the fat has rendered out. 5-6 minutes. Add the leeks and a sprinkle of kosher salt and cook until soft and just turning golden, 7 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and mustard and cook for 1 minute. Then add the brandy, bring to a boil and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Layer all of the ingredients in the prepare casserole dish. Start with 1/3 of the potatoes and layer them evenly on the bottom. Top with 1/2 of the leek mixture, then half of the cheddar cheese and half and half. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Follow with another 1/3 of the potatoes and the rest of the leeks, cheddar, and half and half. Sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Finish with the remaining potatoes and top it all off with the parmesan cheese.
- Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake for 50 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife. Then uncover the dish and bake for 15 minutes more to brown the top.
- Let the gratin rest for 10-15 minutes and then serve.
- Slicing the potatoes: I used my mandoline to cut the potatoes into 2 mm slices.
- Half and half: You can switch to all whole milk for a leaner gratin or to all cream for a rich, holiday gratin.
- I like to add a few extra thyme leaves to the top of the gratin. It is not strictly necessary but I think it looks nice.