Seasonal local food recipe No 76: The perfect potato gratin

Jamie Oliver suggests this as a luxurious alternative to Christmas roast potatoes. Of course, if you’re catering for lots of people, you could always have the gratin as well as the roasties. 

Serves 8-10

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: about an hour

a large knob of butter
200ml semi-skimmed milk
300ml double cream
2 bay leaves
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2.5kg potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
a handful of fresh thyme
a handful of freshly grated parmesan cheese
olive oil
6 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped
a handful of vac-packed chestnuts, peeled and crumbled

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Butter the inside of an ovenproof dish, around 30cm x 30cm, and at least 6cm deep.

Pour the milk and cream into a wide pan with the bay leaves and garlic. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for a minute or two. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.

Add the potatoes and most of the thyme leaves and stir well. Spoon into the gratin dish and shake to even everything out. Sprinkle with the parmesan then cover with an oiled piece of foil. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a little olive oil until crispy and golden. Add the remaining thyme and stir in the chestnuts. When your gratin is ready, remove the foil and spoon the bacon and chestnut mixture over the top. Pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes until gorgeous and crispy on top.

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