Potato Apple Gratin
‘Tis the season for hearty and delicious sides.
This Potato Apple Gratin has the right balance and creaminess to accompany a beef, pork, chicken or turkey roast or grilled specialty, like boneless pork chops with simple lemon, salt & pepper.
Whatever your favorite protein is, you want to add this gratin to fall and winter recipe repertoire. I hope you enjoy and cheer 🥂!
Some Notes and Modifications You Can Make to the Recipe
- Types of Potatoes – There are dozens, if not hundreds, of potato varieties and they vary in flavor, texture and take on different qualities when cooked. A starchy potato such as a Russet or Yukon Gold is best for a gratin or scalloped potatoes (check out my Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Bacon here) because it will help thicken the sauce and bake up tender and keep their shape. For this recipe I used Russet and I kept the skins on because why not? Two, I hate creating food waste. You certainly could remove the skins, if you’d prefer.
- Types of Apples – Like potatoes, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of apple varieties and they vary in flavor, texture and take on different qualities when cooked. For this recipe I used granny smith because they hold their shape well during cooking and their tart flavor balances the sweetness and since this is a savory dish, I didn’t want an overly sweet apple. You want a tart apple for this recipe and other apple varieties you could use include the Braeburn, Jonagold or Pink Lady.
- Types of Cheese – Again loads of varieties 😉. Blue Cheese is used in this recipe and while the taste profile of blue cheese is quite sharp, pungent and salty, it pairs well with sweeter elements like apple to balance out the rich and distinct flavor. If you’re not a fan of blue cheese, you could use Cheddar, Brie, Camembert or Gouda.
- Slicing the Potatoes and Apples – You want a thin and consistent slice for baking. I suggest using a mandoline slicer because it will keep the cut consistent for cooking and it saves you time and patience. As you slice your potatoes and apples, add them to a bowl with cold water because that will prevent them from turning brown.
- To Boil the Potatoes or Not – My recipe does not call for boiling the potatoes, but you certainly could to speed up the cooking process. I would suggest, boiling after slicing your potatoes for 7-10 minutes. If you use this method, test the potatoes after baking for 30 minutes to determine whether your potatoes have been cooked through.
- Béchamel Sauce – I create a Béchamel sauce in this recipe (a Béchamel is butter and flour cooked together with milk or cream). This Béchamel helps the gratin keep its shape because the apples release juices when cooked. If you have a low carb life-style you could remove the flour, but I can’t attest to how it will cook. My recipe also calls for light cream. If you’re watching calories you could with milk, but again, I attest to using that ingredient and the flavoring.
Potato Apple Gratin
- 3 large potatoes sliced thinly on a mandoline
- 2 apples sliced thinly on a mandoline
- 2 TBSP unsalted butter
- 1 medium-sized onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
- 1 shallot sliced thinly
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
- 2 TBSP all purpose flour
- .5 oz fresh thyme
- 2 cups light cream
- ¾ cup blue cheese, crumbled
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- salt & ground pepper, for seasoning
- Heat oven to 325 degrees and generously butter a shallow gratin dish. Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, add onion, shallot and garlic and season with salt and ground pepper. Cook until translucent, ~10 minutes.
- Add the flour and cook until golden brown, 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in light cream and thyme and simmer on medium-low for 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, using a mandoline, slice the potatoes and apples thinly.
- Once the cream mixture is warm, turn off the heat and add the blue cheese and combine. Season with Worcestershire sauce, salt & ground pepper and set aside.
- Transfer potatoes and apples to the prepared baking dish and spread evenly.
- Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes and apple and spread the thyme springs across the top.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake until the potatoes are tender, about 80 minutes.
- Uncover the gratin dish and remove the thyme springs and place under the boiler until brown.
- Once brown, remove from the oven.
- Serve warm with your favorite protein and enjoy, cheers 🥂!