Bacon, Leek and Gruyere Potatoes Au Gratin

These potatoes are the most amazing potatoes I have EVER tasted.  You know they are good when you dream about them all night and eat them for breakfast the next morning…cold!

The textures just blend together with each other and well, bacon.  Need I say more?

This will be the star of any meal paired with your ham, turkey, steaks and pork.  Heck, I could just make a main course out of them.

So  here is the deal.  The secret to a good potato gratin is in the technique, and this one is simple.  Start by slicing your potatoes about 1/8″ thick (using a mandolin will give you the best, most accurate results).  Simmer the potatoes in cream and chicken broth until barely tender.  Then layering the potatoes with flavorful bacon and sauteed leeks, shallots and garlic.  But wait, there’s more.  The creamy Gruyere cheese will put it over the top with its delicious creamy flavor.  But wait, there’s more.  The crunchy bread crumb topping will k eep everyone coming back for more.

Cut your bacon into bite-sized pieces.  Cook until nice and crispy.  Let drain on paper towel and set aside.

Be sure to wash your leeks well.  Dry and chop.  Chop the shallots and garlic, too.

Using 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon grease and 2 tablespoons of butter, start sauteing the leek mixture.

Saute until nice and golden brown, like the one on the right.  Lightly season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

In a food processor finely crumble the bread, add the melted butter and grated Parmesan cheese.  Pulse until all is incorporated.  Set aside.

Using a mandolin thinly cut the potatoes into 1/8″ thick slices.

In a 12″ skillet add the potatoes, cream and chicken broth.

“The advantage to this method are several:  simmering gives the potatoes more opportunity to soak up flavor; starches are released into the liquid earlier, which  helps prevent curdling during baking; and the top layer of the potatoes remains moist.

There are only three fundamental components to any potato gratin-the potatoes, the liquid, and the top crust.  My favorite gratin potatoes are medium-starch, buttery Yukon Golds.  As opposed to russets, which drink up all the liquid and make a drier gratin, and waxy potatoes, which don’t absorb enough, Yukon Golds soak up plenty of liquid but still leave discernible layers in your finished gratin.

For a classic gratin-rich creamy, indulgent-heavy cream is key.  But you can also use light cream, a mixture of cream and milk, or even just broth.”

I just quoted the above from Fine Cooking.  They said it so well.

Partially cover, over medium to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and gently with a rubber spatula until barely tender when pierced with a fork, about 8 to 12 minutes.

Layer half the potatoes onto the bottom of your baking dish.

Evenly distribute the bacon in one layer, topping that with the leek mixture.

Top both layers with the delicious and creamy Gruyere cheese.

Top with the remaining potatoes and then with the bread crumbs.

Bake the gratin in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until bubbly on the sides and the topping is a nice golden brown.

Allow the gratin to sit for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

You will be asked to make these delicious potatoes for the rest of your life anywhere you go!  Enjoy.

Bacon, Leek and Gruyere Potatoes Au Gratin
Fine Cooking Magazine

2 to 2 1/2 lbs. Yukon Golds, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch thick rounds
1 1/2 cup heavy cream or Half-and-half or milk (I used half-and-half)
1 cup lower-salt chicken broth
4 to 6 ounces (uncooked) bacon, cooked and crumbled (reserve drippings for sauteing veggies)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley (optional)
6-8 ounces grated Gruyere cheese
1 shallot, minced
3 medium leeks (about 3/4 lb., trimmed; white and light-green parts only), thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced

For topping:
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

Get your filling and topping ready first. 

For the filling:  In a large skillet cut the bacon into bite-sized pieces.  Fry the bacon until it is brown and crispy.  Drain on paper towel and set aside.  Using the 2 tablespoons of bacon grease and a little butter saute the chopped leeks, shallot and garlic, lightly season with salt and pepper.  Saute on medium until nice and golden brown.  Set aside.

In a food processor finely chop the bread, add the butter and Parmesan cheese until well incorporated.  Set aside.

With a mandoline cut your peeled potatoes about 1/8″ thick.    Using a 12″ skillet add the potatoes, half and half and the chicken broth.  Add the salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  Simmer, partially covered, over medium to medium-low heat.  Stirring occasionally and gently with a rubber spatula until barely tender when pierced with a fork, 8 to 12 minutes.  Add another 1/2 teaspoon salt if needed.

Using a 3 quart gratin dish or 9×13 pan, layer half of the potatoes on bottom of dish.  Layer the leek mixture, then the bacon, then the Gruyere cheese.  Top with the remaining half of potatoes then top with your bread crumb mixture.  At this point you can make one day ahead and cover and refrigerate.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees f.  Bake for about 20-35 minutes, or until nice and bubbly on sides and bread crumb mixture is nice and golden brown.  Let the gratin dish sit for about 10-15 minutes so the liquids can absorb fully into the potatoes and you have cohesive layers.  Serves about 10.


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