If you love potatoes as much as I do, try this recipe! Even though Gratin Dauphinois is by nature more of a rich side dish, you will find that this modern variation of the famous French potato gratin with ginger and coconut milk has a fresh touch to it.
It should come as no surprise that I absolutely LOVE potatoes in all variations! I blame my German origin 😉 There are so many delicious dishes you can prepare with potatoes, which is what makes this vegetable unbeatable (in my opinion) with respect to versatility.
Potato casserole or any type of casserole is a very popular meal in Germany, which is kind of a simpler version of this French potato gratin, also known as Gratin Dauphinois, Gratin de Pommes de Terre.
What is Gratin Dauphinois?
Gratin Dauphinois is a dish that originated in south-eastern France. It is made of layered thinly sliced potatoes (not pre-cooked), which are baked in a cream based sauce and topped with a gratinated layer of cheese or breadcrumbs. Even though the traditional recipe does not contain cheese, it has become a common topping.
In Europe, you will often find this popular side when you order a steak or any type of roasted meat. I am an absolute fan of potato gratin and will order it every time, I can find it on a menu.
About this recipe
I have tried multiple variations and different recipes over the years, to find the perfect ingredient combination for me. Then, years ago, I went to a small steakhouse in Germany and was blown away by their potato gratin. It deviated from the "classic" version since the chef had added an interesting ingredient, GINGER.
Ever since then, ginger has been a staple ingredient for my potato gratin. I also substituted regular cream with a mix of coconut milk and sour cream and love it! Even though I like all kinds of dairy products and will never cut them out of my diet completely, I just feel better if I reduce my intake and substitute where it does not negatively impact the flavor. Just a personal preference, but I like coconut milk and sour cream better than regular cream.
- Coconut milk
- Sour cream
- Gratin cheese
Which Potatoes to use
Starchy potatoes will fall apart when cooked, that's why they are great for mashed potatoes for example. In general, I prefer potatoes that hold their shape. For this recipe, we don't want the potatoes to fall apart and have a mashed potato gratin as a result.
Waxy potatoes are great in taste, hold their form and will give you great results if you want to roast potatoes for example. They are usually smaller in size and the type of potato you would want to eat as a whole with the skin. Peeling would be a pain and I'd not recommend it. Also, their starch content is low and it may not be enough to thicken your sauce.
The best potato to use, is one with a medium starch content, just enough to thicken your sauce without falling apart. My go-to for this recipe is therefore an all-purpose potato like the Yukon Gold.
Which Cheese to use
There are many different kinds of cheese, which make a great choice for your potato gratin. The main question is, which cheese type are you? Do you like a stronger cheese or prefer more of a mild taste?
I prefer cheese to be more aged and flavourful. Therefore, my favorite cheese for gratins or grilled cheese sandwiches (YES, love those!!!) is a Gruyere, the older the better. If you like this type of cheese, another option is a medium-aged Appenzeller.
The two options above are not only stronger types of cheese, they are also not the cheapest. If you are looking for a milder and cheaper alternative, Gouda or Emmental cheese would be great choices.
You can always ask at the cheese counter of your local grocery store for other options suited for a gratin according to your taste. They may even let you try a few 😉
I would not recommend mozzarella, as it will become very liquidy when it melts, which is not what we want to achieve for our potato gratin. Parmesan or any other type of very hard crumbly cheese does not work well either, but that is only my personal opinion.
Notes on the Sour Cream and Coconut Milk
I would not go with low fat on the sour cream or the coconut milk. Firstly, the full-fat tastes better and secondly, low-fat products tend to curdle when exposed to high temperatures.
What to serve with your Potato Gratin
Any type of Pan-Seared or Roasted Meat goes great with the potato gratin, such as steaks, lamb chops or beef roast. One of my personal favorites is pan-seared lamb chops in a rosemary and thyme marinade, along with green beans and this potato gratin.
Just eat it as a main. I really like this dish just by itself with a salad on the side. 🙂
How to make my Ginger Infused Potato Gratin
Slice the Potatoes: Peel the potatoes and slice them either by using a mandolin or in the food processor. If you have neither of these tools and want to slice the potatoes by hand, make sure to cut the slices thin enough so light can shine through the slices when holding one in your hand.
Layer the sliced potatoes evenly in an oven-safe form and set them aside. You want to make sure, not to layer the potatoes too high. Rather use a form larger in diameter or multiple forms. I use a simple pie form which I bought at IKEA and is 13" / 32cm in diameter. If you layer the potato slices too thick, your potato gratin will take longer to cook all the way through the middle and the top and bottom layer will be overcooked.
Preheat the oven to 390°F / 200° Celsius before you start to prepare the sauce.
Garlic and Ginger: If you have a blender, peel and roughly chop the garlic and the ginger. Since the sauce ingredients will be blended, there is no need for more effort. If you don't have a blender available, use a fine grater to mince garlic and ginger.
The Sauce: Blend the coconut milk, sour cream, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper and nutmeg until the sauce has a smooth and creamy consistency and all solid pieces are broken down. If you don't have a blender available, mix all sauce ingredients well together.
Bring it all together: Pour the sauce over the potatoes and top with a thin layer of grated cheese. This way it will have a nice browned crust of cheese on top when cooked.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes until the top layer is golden and the potatoes are cooked. The rule of thumb is usually, once the house starts to smell delicious and you can hardly wait to get it out of the oven, FOOD's ready!
Planning a big family dinner, a stay-in date night or having friends over??? This is the perfect side to prepare ahead of time. Simply perform all steps but bake your gratin only for roughly 30 minutes. About 40 minutes before you would like to serve your main, preheat the oven and bake for another 25-30 minutes. Since the potato gratin has to be reheated, you have to add a few minutes to the regular baking time.
Ginger Infused Potatoes au Gratin Gruyere
- Oven safe form
- Blender (optional)
- Mandolin or food processor to slice the potatoes
- Cheese grater
- 3 lbs potatoes (Yukon gold or any non starchy type)
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 20 g ginger
- 1 can coconut milk (400 ml)
- 4 tablespoon sour cream
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 100 g Gruyere
Prepare the Potatoes
- Peel the potatoes and slice them using a mandolin or in the food processor. Layer the sliced potatoes evenly in an oven-safe form and set them aside. You want to make sure, not to layer the potatoes too high. So rather use a form larger in diameter or multiple forms.
- Preheat the oven to 380°F.
- If you have a blender, peel and roughly cut the garlic and the ginger. If you don't have a blender available, use a grater to finely mince garlic and ginger.
- Blend the the coconut milk, sour cream, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper and nutmeg until the sauce has a smooth and creamy consistency and all solid pieces are broken down.If you don't have a blender available, mix all sauce ingredients well.
- Pour the sauce over the potatoes and top with a thin layer of grated cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes until the top layer is golden and the potatoes are cooked.