Potato & Celery Root Gratin with Leeks

Mama Cheater Bite frequently makes potato gratin side dishes for family get togethers.  I’ve always loved them, but have never made one myself because I always get my fix for it at her house.  This Christmas, all of us made a side dish to bring over for dinner.  This was my assignment.  I was not prepared for just how time consuming it was, but man, it was worth every minute.  While labor intensive, it can be prepared ahead of time.  And it is just oh so delicious…and leftovers heat up beautifully.
Potato & Celery Root Gratin

you will need:
3 cups heavy cream
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 leeks, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced crosswise
kosher salt
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, sliced 1/8″ thick
1 pounds celery root, peeled, sliced 1/8″ thick
2 cups grated gruyere cheese
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Combine the cream, garlic and 1 sprig of thyme in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Heat just until bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pan.  Remove from the heat, cover and set aside to steep.

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the leaks, season with salt and cook until tender.  This should take about 10 minutes.  Do not let them brown; be sure to stir often.  Take off the head and set aside.

Butter a gratin dish with remaining butter.  Layer 1/3 of the potato slices and 1/3 of the celery root slices evenly over the bottom of the dish.  Cover with 1/3 of the leeks, then 1/3 of the cheese.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and some thyme leaves.  Repeat this process 2 more times, using all of your ingredients.  Strain the cream mixture and then pour over your layers of yumminess in the gratin dish.

Set the dish on a large rimmed baking sheet and cover with foil.  Bake for 1 hour, then remove the foil and bake for 30 minutes more until the top is golden brown and bubbly.
gratin kitchen process *You can bake this about 2 hours ahead of time and let stand at room temperature until ready to serve.  Just tent with foil and reheat for 20 minutes in a 300° oven.

serves: 8-10
time: 40 minutes prep + 1.5 hours cooking
from: Bon Appétit

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