Every year, two big batches of Todd’s famous potatoes au gratin makes it way to our Thanksgiving table. It’s one of those dishes that the whole family is religiously (and hopelessly) in love with. All these eaters ask about the potatoes au gratin first, before anyone ever asks about the turkey. Regardless of how much decadent, calorie-laden, decadent goodness hides behind every serving, there’s rarely ever much left over. It’s occasions like these that when it comes to calorie-conversation, we all say, “who cares?”
That’s right, who cares. When the holidays roll around, what’s most important is that were enjoying good food with great people. Now. Let’s do this.
We’re mixing things up a bit this year, but not to the extreme to where there will be mutiny by taking away the precious potatoes au gratin dish. We’re going to make this beloved dish a little extra special and savory by adding sausage. Yes, sausage in potatoes au gratin sounds like a great plan and pretty much, a whole meal in itself. Especially delicious when we add in a homemade sausage which is insanely good. Well, maybe add some brussels sprouts and the turkey then Thanksgiving will be complete. Although we keep batting around the idea of having a Thanksgiving week, just so we can try all of the dishes we are craving this time of year.
It’s incredibly rewarding dishes like these ring in the holidays in the most delicious way possible. Comforting foods, especially those baked with love in the oven, are what makes our cold days warmer and our souls a little more satisfied.
If you’re already a fan of potatoes au gratin and sausage is already a star on your favorites-list, then definitely try these potatoes. And if you’re a purist and don’t like anything interfering with your creamy au gratin? Then make it without the sausage and use the original au gratin recipe we posted a few years ago. Either way, you’ll be pleased to know that what ever you cook, there’s something for everyone. Even the vegetarians!
And for many of you who often ask about the difference between a potatoes au gratin and scalloped potatoes? There’s many varying answers, but traditionally potatoes au gratin (or gratin dauphinoise ) is a French dish where the potatoes are cooked in cream or creme fraiche. No Cheese. Though there are many variations of potatoes au gratin using cheese, most will call potatoes cooked in cheese as scalloped potatoes. Either way, how ever you cook your potatoes, make it your own and share it with those you love.
Eat more potatoes,
This is an adaptation from our classic potatoes au gratin which we previously had posted and is also in our cookbook, Bountiful. It is an all-time favorite for our families and friends, especially in the cooler months. All ingredients are approximations. Learn to cook this recipe by feel and it becomes very easy to make smaller or larger dishes to suit the occasion.
- 1 1/2 pounds (680g) uncooked sausage
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 pounds (1.8kg) Yukon Gold Potatoes , or similar potato
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Kosher or Sea Salt , or to taste
- 2 teaspoons fresh cracked coarse Black Pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated Nutmeg
- 3 1/2 cups (840ml) Heavy Cream , about
Preheat oven to 350°F. Set aside a 9.5x11-inch baking dish.
Heat a large skillet over medium high and then add the olive oil. Stir in the sausage and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until browned.
Peel and slice the potatoes about 1/8" thick. Put the sliced potatoes into a large bowl.
Season the potatoes with sea salt, black pepper, and nutmeg. Toss the slices to coat evenly. Slap a potato slice against your tongue to test for seasoning. It should be noticeably seasoned but not overpoweringly so.
Layer the potatoes and sausage into the baking dish, pressing down on the top so everything is fairly level. Pour the cream over potatoes just to the point where you can press down on the top layer and the top potato slices disappear under the cream. Give a couple presses down on the potatoes and then taste cream for seasoning. You should just marginally taste the salt. Add a sprinkle more if needed.
Put in the oven and bake for a total of about 1 1/2 hours (larger batches will take longer). Every 20 minutes or so, open the oven and with the back of a large spoon, break the crust the cream is starting to form and turn over any of the top sausage pieces that may be beginning to brown. (On the final "crust breaking" the consistency of the cream should noticeably thicker and have absorbed into the potatoes a decent amount). For the final 20-30 minutes, leave everything untouched to form a golden top. Cream should be nearly all broke down and absorbed with just a bit of creamy, buttery-ness between the potato slices.
Remove from oven allow to cool a bit before serving. It will retain an intense heat for at least 10-15 minutes.
Lay down newspaper on counter tops and peel potatoes over the newspaper. When all done, roll up and compost or throw away; instant clean counters!
If you are doing a large batch, put the peeled potatoes in a bowl of water to keep them from browning.
This is also a great time to hone knife skills. However for another quick and easy method, slice with a mandolin or food processor slicing blade. Personally I prefer slicing by hand - it's a bit meditative with the added risk playing with a sharp knife, but some days the food processor or mandolin save precious prep time.