These garlic cheesy potatoes are the ultimate in comfort food. So simple to make and so tasty, the aroma that wafts from the oven as they slowly bake is mouth watering. I hope you’re hungry?
With each recipe I make for this blog, I test and re-test everything obsessively. Over the past few weeks, a ton of garlicky, creamy, cheesy potatoes have been eaten in this household and I can’t even say I’m sorry!
For such a simple dish, I had the hardest time choosing a name for it. Apparently garlic cheesy potatoes have a multitude of alternate names depending on where you are in the world – Gratin dauphinois, Dauphinoise potatoes, scalloped potatoes, potato gratin, the list goes on.
In the end, I decided to stick to the facts – when in doubt, keep it simple, right?
Whatever you prefer to call them, they are a delicious treat. Layer upon layer of tender potato slices, slowly simmered in a garlicky cream and ricotta sauce, then covered in bubbling, golden brown, melty Gruyère cheese – what’s not to love?
Traditionally, this dish uses very large amounts of double (heavy) cream. Although I love the richness this gives, I wanted to see if I could lighten-up the recipe without sacrificing on taste, and I’m happy to say it can be done.
Switching out the majority of the double cream with a mixture of milk and ricotta cheese reduces the fat content considerably without compromising the rich, creamy texture I love so much.
Okay, it’s never going to be considered diet food, but when spring is still trying to win the battle over winter (the daffodils are in bloom, but we had a heavy frost again last night) a spoonful or two of these will help warm you up from the inside (and they freeze beautifully, so any leftovers can be hidden away for future chilly spells).
As a side dish, it’s perfect as an accompaniment to a roast, particularly lamb (Easter lunch anyone?) it also marries well with chicken, sausages, steak, salmon – you get the idea!
The recipe itself is simplicity. It does need a long slow cooking to create its melt in the mouth texture (mine needed an hour and a half) but it’s a quick dish to prepare and pretty easy going. Left to its own devices in the back of the oven, it will fill your kitchen with the most delicious aroma as you get on with more important things – in my case sneaking testing another lemon shortbread bite from the freezer (recipe coming soon!)
Firstly, you will need to thinly slice your potatoes. I use Vivaldi potatoes, which have thin skins and a very velvety, creamy texture. (I’ve heard a lot of good things about Yukon Gold as well, but they are not so easy to get over here). One day, when we have some outdoor space, I’d love to try growing my own from seed, but for now a bag of potatoes from the supermarket will have to do.
Vivaldi are known for their pale yellow, buttery flesh and they work beautifully in this dish. Because their skins are so smooth and thin I never bother peeling them, simply slice them as thinly as possible either with a sharp knife, or a mandoline (this is the one I own).
I like to mix the liquid ingredients together in a bowl so I can check the seasonings before I add the potatoes. I’ve used garlic powder here instead of fresh as I find it has a gentle, kinda mellow sweetness that works well. The long cooking time means the flavour has a chance to infuse throughout the dish but fresh garlic can be substituted, simply crush and add to the liquids.
When everything has been whisked together, add the potato slices and stir. Cutting the potatoes releases a lot of starch (which helps make the layers stick together as it’s cooking) so stirring them through the liquid helps allow each slice an opportunity to bathe in the cream mixture and be coated in it.
Once the slices have been transferred to a baking dish and any remaining cream poured over, simply cover with foil and pop into the oven. The only thing you need to keep an eye on is making sure the top layer of potato gets pressed down into the cream mixture occasionally, so it doesn’t dry out. Once the potatoes are tender, smother the dish in shredded cheese and let it melt down until it’s bubbling, cheesy and delicious.
Cheesy, garlicky potato goodness all the way!
I’m off to have another spoonful now …
- 8 medium smooth skinned potatoes (I used Vivaldi potatoes, mine weighed approx. 900g)
- 1 cup (240ml) milk
- ½ cup (120ml) double (heavy) cream
- 1 cup (200g) ricotta cheese
- 2 teaspoons dried garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)*
- 2 good pinches sea salt
- ½ cup (50g) shredded Gruyère cheese
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5 (375F degrees).
- Slice the potatoes as thinly as you can (1/4 inch thickness or less).
- Combine the milk, cream, ricotta, garlic, nutritional yeast (if using) and salt in a large bowl and whisk together until smooth.
- Add the sliced potatoes to the bowl and stir gently so that all the slices get coated in the cream mixture.
- Remove the potato slices using a large spoon and place into a 9 inch square roasting dish. Pour any remaining cream mixture over the top and using the back of the spoon, gently press the potatoes down.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake on the middle oven shelf for 45 minutes.
- Remove the foil, press down the potato slices again to keep the top layer from drying out, then return to the oven until most of the cream is absorbed and the potatoes are tender (mine took another 30 minutes).
- Scatter the shredded cheese over the top and bake for a further 10 - 15 mins or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
- Leave to stand for a few minutes before serving.
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