This will be an easy crowd pleaser for holiday get-togethers. Mom serves homemade au gratin potatoes every Christmas, so I know this will go very well with an Easter ham.
They also were a great accompaniment to our crock pot BBQ ribs last night.
This recipe can be done economically or you can be really decadent and use artisan cheeses. The cheese sauce is the same as when I make homemade macaroni and cheese.
My special ingredient is cream cheese, or goat cheese when I can afford to splurge. I have found that they bring the same creaminess as using whole milk or cream but adds more flavor and dimension ; therefore, more delicious and addictive.
Prep Time: approx. 20-30 minutes. Cook time: 1 1/2 hours Makes approx. 6-8 servings (you or your guests will WANT leftovers)
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons dry rosemary, or 3 teaspoons fresh (I used 2 teaspoons of powdered rosemary from Penzey's Spices - online ordering possible if no retail stores are around)
2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
2 cups of shredded or finely diced cheese. (I used a cup of extra sharp cheddar and a cup of sliced swiss chopped into tiny squares)
4 ounces of cream cheese (half of a standard package) or 4 ounces of goat cheese
6 cups of yukon gold or russet potatoes, peeled and thinly slices (about 6-7 medium potatoes)
3/4 cup of white or yellow onion, finely diced (about one medium)
1 large or two small cloves garlic, minced
Non stick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350
Peel and slice onions as thin as possible. Use a mandolin if available and use most narrowest blade. Keep the slices submerged in a bowl of cold water so they don't turn gray by the time you need them.
Dice onion and garlic and set aside
In a large saucepan, melt butter and add oil on low heat
Sprinkle in flour and mix until all is smooth
Add milk slowly while mixing to retain smoothness
Add salt, pepper, rosemary and parmesan
Turn stove to medium heat and add the rest of the cheese. Stir until melted and smooth.
Turn stove onto high and stir until sauce starts to bubble up. Remove from heat.
Add onion and garlic, drain potatoes from the water and add. Stir well.
Pour into a casserole dish or individual gratin bakers that have been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cover with foil.
Bake one hour. Uncover. Bake 30 minutes until fork tender and until desired browning.