This is a grown up version of the scalloped potatoes that I grew up with. Thinly sliced potatoes, and a rich creamy version of mornay sauce, a classic French cheese sauce.
Because I was making this dish for a dinner packed with children, the cheese I added was cream cheese for a milder flavor than I would typically have (using tallegio or gruyere.) The cream cheese did not disappoint. It gave a wonderful tanginess, and velvety smoothness without being overwhelming.
When the potatoes bake into this creamy sauce, they really become so tender that it is like a potato pudding. Is there such a thing? Or have I just made something up…
Plus, this is a perfect Christmas side dish because it would go so beautifully with pork, beef or turkey. Plus you could assemble this the night before and bake it just in time for dinner!
Au Gratin Potatoes, serves 8-10
10-12 Cups thinly sliced potatoes
3 Cups Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
4 Tbs butter
4 Tbs flour
1 quart cream (4 cups)
8oz cream cheese, cut into chunks
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Kosher Salt and Freshly cracked Black Pepper
Fresh Thyme leaves
2 Tbs melted butter for baking pan
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
In a small pot, bring the cream to a simmer.
Meanwhile, in a heavy pot melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook the roux for a few minutes over medium heat to cook off the raw flour taste.
Add the cream to the pot and whisk the roux into the cream until the sauce is smooth.
Add the cream cheese chunks and whisk until smooth.
Season this with nutmeg, Kosher salt and pepper.
Pour the melted butter into a 9×13 baking dish and lay out a layer of potatoes, sprinkle them lightly with salt and pepper.
Ladle a thin layer of the sauce over the potatoes and sprinkle with parmesan.
Add another layer of potatoes and repeat this process over and over until the potatoes are gone, ending with a layer of sauce and parmesan and a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves.
Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown.