Gratin Potatoes


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


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Appears in

Cooking at the Merchant House

By Shaun Hill

Published 2000

  • About

There are two ways of making good gratin dauphinois. The traditional method calls for thinly sliced raw potatoes to be layered with Gruyère cheese and then topped with a 50:50 mixture of milk and cream. This needs an hour or longer to cook and should be eaten straightaway. At The Merchant House I make a variation on this called gratin de Jabron. It uses potatoes preboiled in their skins and can be made in 30 minutes. It also tastes better, more of potato and less of cream.


  • 1kg (2lb 4oz) potatoes
  • 20g (¾ oz/ tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 3 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 300ml (10½fl oz/1⅓ cups) milk
  • 300 ml (10½ fl oz/1⅓ cups) double (heavy) cream
  • 50g (2 oz/½ cup) grated hard cheese, preferably Gruyère, Parmesan or mature Cheddar
  • salt and black pepper


Wash the potatoes and boil them in their skins until cooked through. Drain, peel and cut into dice or slices as you fancy.

Working in batches if your frying pan is too small to fit all the potatoes, warm the butter with the crushed garlic. Season with plenty of salt and pepper, then add the potatoes and toss them – the object is to coat them with warm garlic butter, not to fry them. After this stage they can be kept for up to 24 hours ready to make the gratin when needed.

Heat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Spread the potatoes out in an ovenproof dish around 2.5cm (1in) deep. Pour on the milk and cream, top with grated cheese and bake for 30 minutes.