Friday, August 12, 2011

Potato Gratin with Bacon and Thyme

I'm not a big casserole fan in general but every once in awhile there's one that looks really good to me. I think my dislike stems from one too many concoctions at church events that include just a little too much cream of mushroom and a lack of just about anything resembling flavor. The sad thing is that it's not very hard to make a good gratin with simple ingredients that tastes amazing and makes a great simple meal.

Take this one for example, slice some potato's and sweet onion,  saute some bacon and chop a little thyme, mix in a bit of cream and you're good to go. Throw in a dinner salad and you've got a perfect dinner. 

Potato Gratin with Bacon and Thyme
adapted from Bon Appetit


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium onions, halved lengthwise, each half cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, divided
1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided


Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of onions, garlic and 1 tablespoon thyme and cook until slightly softened, stirring frequently, about 6 minutes. Add remaining onions and sauté until very soft, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until deep golden brown, stirring frequently, about 40 minutes longer. Set aside.

Sauté bacon in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until bacon is beginning to crisp around edges, about 4 minutes. Pour off drippings from pan. Add cream and 2 teaspoons thyme; simmer until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Cool.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Peel and thinly slice potatoes with mandoline or knife. Spoon 1/2 cup cream mixture over bottom of 8x8x2-inch metal or ceramic baking dish. Arrange 1/3 of potato slices over cream, overlapping as necessary. Sprinkle with pepper and 1/3 teaspoon coarse salt. Spread half of caramelized onions over potatoes. Spoon half of remaining cream mixture over onions. Cover with half of remaining potatoes. Sprinkle with pepper and 1/3 teaspoon salt. Spread remaining onions over potatoes. Spoon all but 2 tablespoons cream mixture over onions. Cover with remaining potato slices. Sprinkle with black pepper and remaining 1/3 teaspoon salt. Drizzle with remaining cream mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon thyme. Cover tightly with foil.

Bake until potatoes are tender when pierced with knife (pierce knife through foil), about 45 minutes. Carefully remove foil and plastic wrap (steam will be released). DO AHEAD Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Increase oven temperature to 500°F. Bake until top is golden brown, about 10 minutes longer (or about 15 minutes if at room temperature). Let stand 10 minutes. Serve.


  1. No matter how much my father tried, my brother and I would not eat casseroles growing up. He loved them and we refused to eat them. I am much more tolerant now.

  2. This looks great! I love casseroles, but my husband usually doesn't for the same reason you described. I've been wanting an excuse to buy a new casserole dish, and I think my hubby would buy off on the idea if this is what I was going to make!!!

  3. Wow that looks amazing. I am not a huge potato person, but I would definitely do this. I guess they are right, bacon does make everything better.