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Creamy Potato and Leek Gratin image

Cutting leeks into large pieces (they almost dissolve when thinly sliced) gives them a presence equal to disks of potato, while cooking the vegetables separately-the leeks are braised in butter, the spuds are simmered in milk and cream-preserves their distinct flavors. The glorious results will supply the homiest meatloaf supper with pizzazz.

Provided by Lillian Chou

Categories     Holiday 2018     Christmas     Christmas Eve     Thanksgiving     Entertaining     Winter     Side     Casserole/Gratin     Potato     Leek     Milk/Cream     Wheat/Gluten-Free

Yield 8 servings

Number Of Ingredients 8

9 medium leeks ( about 3 lb; white and pale green parts only)
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 lb russet (baking) potatoes
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2 tsp thyme leaves
Special Equipment
An adjustable-blade slicer


  • Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Generously butter a 3-qt shallow baking dish. Cut a round of parchment paper to fit just inside a 12-inch heavy skillet, then set parchment aside.
  • Halve leeks lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch pieces (you should have about 8 cups). Wash leeks.
  • Cook leeks in butter with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, covered with parchment round, in skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, peel potatoes and slice crosswise 1/16 inch thick with slicer. Transfer to a large heavy pot with cream, milk, thyme, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally (liquid will thicken). Stir in leeks, then transfer to baking dish.
  • Bake, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  • Do Ahead
  • Gratin can be baked 2 days ahead and chilled. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes, then reheat, covered, in a 350°F oven until hot, about 30 minutes.

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