From the moment I saw this potato dish, I knew I’d make it for myself and end up posting it for November since it screams Thanksgiving, doesn’t it? Aside from Thanksgiving, it would also make a great brunch item. It’s a potato au gratin type of recipe originating from the French Alps using a special cheese called reblochon.
I’ve never had reblochon cheese, and so it’s hard to imagine how much better this could be with reblochon, but unfortunately, reblochon simply is not an option in the US. It’s been outlawed in the US since 2004 by the FDA for not meeting guidelines on imported and unpasteurized soft and semi-hard cheese. I’ve read online that there is a cheese that was developed in 2005, Delice du Jura, which is a reasonable substitute and is available in the US, but I could not find it anywhere and decided to go with brie. If you are in the US, a brie or Camembert would be a good sub, unless you find Delice du Jura!
4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
7 slices of thick center-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch strips
1.5 cups of shredded gruyere cheese
2 cups sliced yellow onion, sliced into half-moons
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 and 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, separated
1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
8-ounce wheel of Camembert, or Brie, or Delice du Jura
Boil potatoes until fork-tender. Do not under or overcook. Allow to cool.
Meanwhile, heat a large, non-stick skillet on medium-high. Cook bacon until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.
Remove all but about 1 Tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan and sauté the onions in the fat until soft and caramelized. Add 1 teaspoon of the thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Combine the cream, milk, garlic, wine, and salt into a bowl and set aside.
Slice potatoes into 1/4 inch slices and set aside.
Grease a 13 x 9 oval gratin dish or casserole pan. Line with one single layer of the cooked potato slices, using about 1/3 of the potatoes. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the cooked bacon over the potatoes, 1/3 of the gruyere cheese, 1/3 of the onions and 1/3 of the milk/cream mixture. Repeat all of these 2 more times for three layers.
Slice the wheel of reblochon (or brie, Camembert, or Delice du Jura) horizontally as if cutting a hamburger bun to create and top and a bottom. Quarter each wheel of cheese so that you have 8 triangles of cheese total.
Arrange the triangles of cheese over the top of the casserole and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of thyme.
Bake at 400 degrees F. for about 40 minutes until the cheese has melted and the topping is golden brown. Enjoy!