Beautiful Mashed Potato Gratin is the easiest bake-ahead potato dish to go with all kinds of meats and stews that you might be making for dinner guests.
I’m far too anxious for last minute cooking for company so that means no mashed potatoes. You can’t really make mashed potatoes too far in advance because when they sit in the pot while everyone enjoys a second cocktail, those fluffy potatoes turn gummy and slick. Not good when you’ve worked so hard on that beef bourguignon. This is a real bummer because creamy mashed potatoes are a wonderfully easy side for winter stews and braises.
The good news is that you can easily bake ahead a mashed potato gratin that contains the usual mashed potato ingredients plus a few egg yolks and some cheese. Plopped into a baking dish, the eggs puff up the potatoes and the cheese adds depth of flavor. You’ll also love how dressed-up and good enough for company it looks with the crispy browned tips and edges. You can’t get that right out of a saucepan.
And let’s face it. Just calling it a gratin and not a casserole boosts its status tremendously.
Variations? Why, yes. Swap the cheese for yellow cheddar and stir in bacon crumbles and chives or sliced green onions for a mean Mashed Baked Potato Gratin. Other variations include adding a big spoonful of horseradish or other herbs, swapping the milk for buttermilk or yogurt for extra tang or swirling in some pesto.
- 4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 3 egg yolks1
- 1/2 cups shredded gruyere or white cheddar cheese
- Salt and white pepper, to taste
Butter a 2-quart baking dish. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add about 2 tablespoons salt to the water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the butter and milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave and heat until the milk is hot and butter is melted. Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl. Drain the potatoes. Pour some of the hot milk mixture into the eggs and blend well. Add the milk mixture and eggs to the potatoes and blend well. Stir in the cheese. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the potatoes to the prepared dish. Bake 30 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the potatoes are cooked through. Makes 8 to 10 servings.