This is my favorite winter side dish.
It is so simple and you can prepare it the day before and just reheat it 30 minutes before serving.
I love it best with meatloaf, but it works well with any hearty main dish.
Don't skip the fennel, because that's what makes it different from other potato gratins.
This is like macaroni and cheese for me. I love it so much, I could just eat it out of the baking dish. So my rule when I make this is: Give all leftovers from this dish away.
Potato & Fennel Gratin: (recipe from Barefoot Contessa)
4 large russet potatoes (I use Yukon gold), peeled
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thin
2 small fennel bulbs, trim away the stems and green parts
2 cups + 2 tbsp of grated Gruyere cheese
2 cups + 1 tbsp of heavy cream
salt & pepper
Butter a large casserole or gratin dish.
In a heavy skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp olive oil and saute your fennel slices and onion slices until cooked, about 15 min. on medium heat.
Using a mandolin (be careful that you don't cut off your fingers), slice potatoes very thin. Place in a large mixing bowl.
To the bowl of sliced potatoes, add the 2 cups of heavy cream and 2 cups of grated cheese, salt & pepper & cooked fennel onion mixture. Mix together until all is incorporated.
Pour into buttered gratin dish and pat down so the mixture is even.
Mix the last tbsp of heavy cream with the rest of the cheese and sprinkle on top.
Bake in a 350F oven for an hour and 30 minutes until bubbly and golden brown on top.
If getting too brown, cover with foil for the last half hour of baking.