Potato Porcini Gratin with Raclette and Thyme
by eat in my kitchen
Imagine bubbling Raclette cheese, golden potatoes, earthy Porcini and aromatic thyme and you have all the strong but well balanced flavours of my hearty gratin. Add some cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg and you’re pretty much done. It’s a quick one, the potatoes are boiled already and I used dried Porcini which only had to soak for a couple minutes. Normally I make my gratin with raw potatoes, sliced very thinly, several layers stacked on top of each other with cheese in between. It takes longer to prepare and to cook, I didn’t have the time so I went for a quicker one.
I like to cook with dried Porcini. It’s convenient as you can use them all year round and they are really tasty, even more intense than the fresh ones. I always use the liquid after I soak them in water as it absorbs lots of the mushroom’s taste. It’s great for risotto or, in my case, to mix with the cream. It makes a lighter sauce than my usual gratin milk and cream mixture. I add some thyme which is the perfect herb for Porcini (parsley also fits well but the thick thyme leaves give it this nice wintery touch). I cut the potato slices quite thick, I don’t want them to become mushy when they soak a bit of the sauce. To finish it off it just needs some strong meltable cheese sprinkled on top. Swiss Raclette became one of my my favourites over the past years as it tastes really strong. I don’t like to drown my poor food under piles of cheese for a bit of taste, I rather use less of a good and aromatic one.
Potato Porcini Gratin
For 4 people as a side dish, or for 2 as a main, you need
boiled potatoes, cut into thick slices, 800g / 1 1/2 pound
dried Porcini, soaked in 120ml of warm water, chopped, 20g / 1 ounce
(keep the water, you will need 100ml for the sauce)
heavy cream 100ml
Raclette cheese, grated, 50g / 2 ounces
thyme leaves of 2-3 sprigs
salt and black pepper
olive oil to brush the baking dish
Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F.
Arrange the potato slices in the oiled baking dish. Mix the cream, Porcini water, chopped Porcini, cheese and thyme leaves. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and pour over the potatoes. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden. At that point you can also put the gratin under the grill for a couple minutes so that the cheese becomes a bit crisp.