Thanksgiving

Le Gratin Savoyard

You'll need potatoes for your Thanksgiving meal. Mashed are traditional since you'll be serving gravy from that magnificent bird. However, the Treasury doesn't offer a mashed potato recipe (actually, maybe it does). So I'm offering this French dish for potatoes au gratin, from the Savoy region of France. It appears on page 61.

Mashed potatoes are always the go-to dish when feeding a crowd because it divides easily and it's easy to make. Au gratin potatoes take a little more work. However, the results are spectacularly delicious. They will set your Thanksgiving dinner apart from all others before it because you did something--anything--differently.

A little about the Savoy

Savoy is part of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France, one of the newest regions after the regional elections of 2016 combined the Rhone with the Auvergne. Since the 800s France, Italy, and Spain have all claimed this area. The Savoy is home of the House of Savoy which became so powerful they eventually ruled all of Sicily. Another name for this region might be The French Alps, though I'm certain there are Franco-nerds out there just waiting for me to say that so they can troll me with detailed explanations why that isn't the case so I'll just stay vague for now.

You can imagine with these three culinary domains fighting over a piece of land (until 1860 when it was finally and officially French) the food there must be fairly good. It's a melange of these three national cuisines–and the necessarily hearty dishes for people who live in the Alps and ski a lot. Potatoes, cheese, and pork are pretty much the staples in kitchens above the chairlift lines. Maybe, I don't know because I don't ski.

 

Le Gratin Savoyard

Ingredients

  • 8 medium potatoes, sliced very thinly
  • 12 inch oval baking dish
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 2 cups light cream

Instructions

  • Put the potato slices into salted water, bring to a boil, boil 3 minutes. Drain.
  • Butter the dish.
  • Layer half the potatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper and half the cheese. Cover with remaining potatoes.
  • Add th cream and top with the remaining cheese.
  • Bring to a boil over direct heat then simmer for 15 minutes (yes, in the dish, on the stove).
  • Pop it under the broiler for 2 or 3 minutes to brown the top.
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