Potato Gratin amped up with two kinds of potatoes, yams and russet potatoes. Two Potato Gratin with Thyme and Shallots has full flavors, with creamy-cheesy textures. Super easy to make and looks elegant on any dinner table. This is comfort food with class.
Any cheesy dish belongs in the ‘comfort food’ category, but cheesy potatoes belong at the top; and this recipe for Two Potato Gratin with Thyme and Shallots is not only comforting, it also seems a bit elegant and special. But it’s so easy to make, it can be part of the menu any time you like.
I discovered a recipe for Two Potato Gratin in Centennial Kitchen’s Thanksgiving Recipes magazine and I added shallots to the recipe, doubled the cheese, and adapted some of the process to ensure the potatoes were fully cooked and the topping didn’t over brown.
Potato Gratin ingredients are layered, rather than made into a cheese sauce mixed with potatoes. The recipe is super simple that a kitchen novice can be proud of the results and an expert with a discerning palette will be pleased as well.
Main Ingredients in Two Potato Gratin with Thyme and Shallots-
Potatoes – For this two potato gratin, I used both Russet potatoes that I didn’t bother to peel and orange yam sweet potatoes.
Shallots – Shallots are milder than onions and garlic, kind of a shy combination of both. The shallots in this potato gratin are just enough extra flavor to complement the potatoes and thyme.
Cream – Cream is used in potato gratins because for classic gratin, the cream sauce is not really thick and is still a bit separate from the cheese in the recipe. It layers with the cheeses but doesn’t fully absorb it. For this recipe, I heated the cream with full sprigs of thyme and then let it sit for a bit so the thyme flavor could seep into the cream, deepening it and making it more complex.
Fresh Thyme – For this recipe, the thyme adds almost a lemon-minty flavor. Perfect to keep the brightness in the recipe. If you want to change things up, you can substitute rosemary for a more woodsy, evergreen flavor.
Cheese – In the printable recipe, I suggest Gruyere and sharp cheddar. But you can really mix out the cheeses to your liking in the gratin; just make sure one is rather sharp and the other a little mild. Both should melt well and I don’t recommend buying pre-grated cheese, which are treated with cellulose to prevent clumping and thus also removes some of the moisture from the cheese. This cheese doesn’t blend or melt as smooth as if you buy a block and grate it yourself.
Two Potato Gratin with Thyme and Shallots is so hearty and delicious, it can be a vegetarian main dish served with a side salad or roasted broccoli. Or add leftover ham or turkey before baking if you want to add meat for a one-dish casserole.
Potatoes are often a staple to a meal especially during the holidays and extended family or friend dinner parties. Be sure to check out more of my favorite potato recipes, like my Scalloped Hasselback Potatoes, or Lemony Garlic Potatoes, and Baked Mashed Potato Cakes. If you make any of these or other Good Dinner Mom recipes, be sure to tag them with #gooddinnermom so I can feature you!
Two Potato Gratin with Thyme and Shallots
- 2 medium orange skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and sliced into ⅛-inch rounds
- 2 large russet potatoes, sliced into ⅛-inch rounds- No need to peel
- ½ cup sliced shallot
- 1 ½ tsp kosher salt, or 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more thyme leaves for garnish
- 1 tbsp butter, softened for coating baking dish
- 2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese, divided or any favorite Swiss cheese
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheese, divided
- Preheat oven to 400F°
- In a large mixing bowl, toss potato slices and shallots with 1 ½ teaspoons of kosher salt. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, add 1 ½ cup cream and 3 thyme sprigs. Heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes; set aside to let thyme steep for 15 minutes, then remove sprigs. Pour half of cream mixture into bowl with potatoes and toss with your hands to coat.
- Coat a 2-quart baking with 1 tablespoon of softened butter; layer half of the potato/shallot mixture in the baking dish and top with 1 cup of each of the cheeses. Top with remaining potato/shallots; pour in the remaining cream, plus any cream that accumulated in the bottom of the potato/shallot bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining cheeses.
- Cover loosely with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and cheese is golden brown. If the cheese begins to brown too much, place foil back over the top of the dish until baking is complete (potatoes are tender). Garnish with more fresh thyme leaves to serve.
- This dish can sit covered with foil for about 15 minutes before serving if needed while other items in the meal are being completed, or can remain in a 250F° oven for up to 30 minutes before serving. Best served the day of baking for appearance, though leftovers reheat very well up to 2 days after baking.
- You can use whatever cheeses you like in the recipe as long as they are good for melting; choose one that's rather sharp and another with full flavor to provide complex flavors. Do not buy pre-shredded cheese as most are covered with ingredients that prevent clumping but also inhibits ideal melting.
- You can switch out the thyme for rosemary with delicious results.
- If you prefer more sweet potato than russet in the recipe, use 2 large sweet potatoes and 2 medium russet potatoes and, of course, the recipe is good with just one or the other, but it's a pretty presentation with both.
- The amount of cheese in the recipe is plentiful but feel free to add additional cheese to the top after removing the foil for even more of a cheesy top.
- Gratins are known for the liquid from the heavy cream so be sure to catch the cream in each portion. The cream and cheese do not combine to be a combined sauce.
- Don't skip seeping the thyme in the cream. The flavor is subtle after seeping but wonderful in the dish.
Recipe adapted from Thanksgiving Magazine publication 2021.