Sunday Dinner Side Dish: Potatoes Dauphinoise

Potatoes dauphinoiseWhile you may think this potato dish gets its name from being prepared for French royalty, it’s actually named after the region it comes from: Dauphiné.  The French have some great potato preparations and this is no exception.  Goes great with any Sunday dinner and since I hadn’t made Potatoes Dauphinoise in a long while it seemed like a good pairing for the roast chicken I was making. 

This is one of those side dishes which I love to make, get so excited to make, yet always seem to forget to do one semi-important thing.  This time it was salt.  Argh.  It’s even in my notes next to the recipe “don’t be stingy w/ the salt.”  However, I was so focused on remembering the eggs, which I forgot the last time (and before that it was the nutmeg), that I forgot to season the sauce.  Despite adding some salt at the beginning when I simmered the potatoes it wasn’t nearly enough.  On the bright side I think it’s better to undersalt than oversalt.  You can add salt to the finished product but it’s very difficult to take away.

For a fancy named dish it’s pretty easy to make (forgetting ingredients makes it even easier).  The toughest part is slicing up the potatoes but if you have a mandoline or food processor it shaves lots of time off of the task.  For a large baking dish like I use (9×13) you’ll need about 4 lbs of potatoes.  Most recipes call for less and as a result the milk portion for par-cooking is not enough, but often too much for the casserole and you end up with a really runny, liquidy potato dish.  To fix this use enough milk and a cup of cream to cover the potatoes for the par-boiling part.  When you’re ready to pour the milk over the potatoes measure out 3 ½ cups, add the eggs, then pour and shake the pan.  Oh and don’t forget the salt.

Potatoes Dauphinoise

  • 4 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes (peeled or unpeeled, your choice)
  • 3 ½ C milk
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Butter
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 4-6 oz grated gruyere cheese

Pre-heat over to 350°F.

Scrub the potatoes and slice thinly (by hand, mandoline, food processor).

Combine the milk, cream, nutmeg in a large stock pot and season with salt and pepper.

Add the potato slices and bring to a simmer on the stove top.  Cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are semi-tender.  Keep an eye on them and stir occasionally to keep them from sticking to the bottom.  If the potatoes aren’t covered with liquid add some more.

Butter a 9×13 baking dish and rub with the crushed cloves of garlic.  Remove the potatoes from the pot and layer in the baking dish.

Measure out 3 ½ C of the milk/cream.  Taste it.  Adjust seasonings (ADD SALT!!!!) Blend the eggs into the milk and pour over the potatoes.  Shake the baking dish to distribute the liquid evenly.

Spread cheese on top of potatoes and cover with aluminum foil.

Bake the potatoes in a hot water bath and cook for 1 hour.

Remove foil and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes in order to brown the cheese.

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