2 pounds potatoes
2 cups full fat milk
1/4 cup double cream or heavy cream
2 garlic cloves , peeled and halved (you can also use just one clove if you like)
2 sprigs of fresh thyme , plus extra for sprinkling
1 shallot roughly chopped (optional)
1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup parmesan , freshly grated (optional)
Butter for greasing the dish
Preheat the oven to 150C/300F. Rub garlic all over the surface of a gratin dish, about 10-11in. then rub butter over the surface of the dish as well.
Peel the potatoes, rinse them briefly, and slice them thinly (about 3mm). Resist washing them again after slicing.
In a saucepan, mix the sliced potatoes, milk, salt, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat for about 8-10 minutes, stirring the potatoes and scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking/scorching.
Transfer half of the potatoes into the baking dish, sprinkle with the chives, and drizzle with half of the cream. Add the rest of the potatoes, pour the cooking milk(where you cooked your potatoes) over them, and cheese, and drizzle with the remaining cream. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
Bake this dish for 40-60 minutes, until it's bubbly on the edges and nicely browned at the top. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
This dish is even better the following day because the potatoes have really soaked up the flavors. You can re-heat them for 15 minutes at 220°C/430°F. You can choose not to use the cheese in this dish.
December 10, 2009