This is a really easy recipe which stems from 3 main principles: it is extremely easy to make, it can be prepared in advance and, for once, the recipe is all mine. The basics behind a good gratin are, as far as I am concerned, spuds, cream and garlic. Anything else is up to you and can make the real difference between a sublime baked gratin and a plain one.
A gratin really is a layered dish mainly made from potatoes, which are finely sliced to allow for a better bake and can also arranged in a fairly geometrical pattern. In this case I added mushrooms and sweet potatoes (I had some leftover in the fridge), but you can decide to keep it simple and only use potatoes or, should you be a little bit more adventurous, even try it with pumpkin or other hard root vegetables. The cream really is the key, as that is what will slowly seep into the vegetables and cook them. Consider it like a milky bath, a bit like Cleopatra’s (ok, I’m pushing it a bit too far now).
I said you can make this in advance and really, you can follow the recipe up until step number 4 and then leave it in the fridge to bake at a later time.
- 4 large baking potatoes, peeled and finely sliced
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and finely sliced
- 250g mushrooms, finely sliced
- 300ml double cream
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- mixed nuts (to sprinkle on top)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Butter a large baking dish and set aside.
- In a bowl, mix the cream with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the mixed nuts (if using) and mix all together.
- Start layering the dish. Arrange an even layer of potatoes, slightly overlapping them so they cover all of the surface. Top with a layer of mushrooms and then with a layer of sweet potatoes. Repeat until you have used all of the vegetables.
- Pour the cream evenly on the dish.
- Bake for at least 40 minutes in the oven and check after this time whether the vegetables are cooked. The cream should be bubbling at the sides and the vegetables on top should have slightly coloured.
- Serve while warm.