Gratin with Beer

This is much nicer than it sounds as the beer gives the potatoes a robust and almost meaty flavour.


  • lb (700 g) potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
  • 2 oz (50 g) butter
  • 3 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ pint (400 ml) beer
  • ¼ pint (150 ml) milk


Using 1 oz (25 g) of the butter grease a gratin dish and into this put the potatoes and onions in layers, seasoning as you go. Dab with the rest of the butter in little pats.

Pour over the beer and cook at gas mark 7/425°F/220°C for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to gas mark 4/350°F/180°C for another 40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Pour over the milk and cook for another 10 minutes or until the top is brown and crusty.

‘To Clean an Old Silk Dress – “Unpick the dress, and brush it with a velvet brush. Then grate two large potatoes into a quart of water; let it stand to settle; strain it off quite clear, and sponge the dress with it. Iron it on the wrong side, as the ironed side will be shiny.”’

From ‘Useful Receipts for Housekeepers and Servants’ in Warne’s Model Cookery and Housekeeping Book, 1868.