Here is a recipe so luscious it could be the main course for your family feast, or a very special side. Pretty overlapping rings of potato nestle with flavorful mushrooms in a fragrant cheese sauce: the dish goes easily from oven to table, and it’s served golden-brown and piping hot with a garnish of fresh thyme sprigs.
Nothing satisfies like potatoes, mushrooms, and cheese, and this great recipe raises these earthy peasant ingredients to new heights of great taste and elegant presentation!
1/2 ounce dried wild mushrooms, such as porcini, chanterelle, or shiitake
boiling water to cover
2 pounds potatoes: Yukon Gold, Yellow Finn, Red, or other
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound button mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 ounces blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola, Stilton, Maytag, or Roquefort, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh thyme sprigs for garnish
1. in a small bowl, place dried mushrooms with enough boiling water to cover and let stand 30 minutes until softened. Drain mushrooms, chop coarsely, and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 400F. Place rack in upper part of oven. Oil a 3-quart gratin dish or other pretty baking dish.
3. Thinly slice potatoes and keep in bowl of cold water until ready to use.
4. Melt butter in a large skillet over high heat and add button mushrooms, dehydrated wild mushrooms, and thyme. Saute, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and their liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. In a bowl, mash blue cheese with cream until smooth, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Place one-third of the potato slices on the bottom of the baking dish, layer half the mushrooms evenly over the potatoes, then add another layer of potatoes, then a layer of remaining mushrooms. Top with overlapping rings of remaining potato. Pour cream mixture evenly over the top, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
6. Bake 40-50 minutes, until potatoes are tender and cream is almost completely absorbed. Bring dish to table and serve hot, garnished with thyme sprigs, if you like.
Serves 6 – 8.
Inspired by Autumn: Williams-Sonoma Seasonal Celebration, by Joanne Weir (Time-Life Books, 1997).