3 large russet potatoes, about 2 lb. (1 kg) total, peeled, halved
lengthwise and cut crosswise into slices 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick
2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) heavy cream
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
6 oz. (185 g) Gruyère cheese, shredded
1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh chives
Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set eight 3-fl.-oz. (80-ml) ramekins on the baking sheet.
Divide the potato slices among the ramekins, staggering the slices so each layer lies flat.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cream, thyme, bay leaf, salt and white pepper and bring to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and remove and discard the bay leaf. Add 4 oz. (125 g) of the cheese and stir until melted. Slowly pour about 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the cream mixture into each ramekin. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 oz. (60 g) cheese, dividing evenly.
Transfer to the oven and bake until the potatoes are tender and the cheese is browned, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes, then garnish the gratins with the chives and serve immediately. Serves 8.
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