Garden Vegetable Gratin
A layered potato casserole, a gratin (pronounced grah-TAN) is a French dish named for both the technique and the dish it’s baked in: a fairly shallow, oval, oven-safe baking dish. Nonetheless, you can make it in a standard 9-by-13-inch baking dish, more in keeping with standard American cookware. Here’s a perfect version for your holiday table: a side dish that just may even conquer the main course!
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces shallots, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons stemmed thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated or ground mace
3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup low-fat or fat-free cream
1. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel and thinly slice the potatoes. Place the slices in a bowl, cover with cool water and set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
3. Add the shallots, carrot, zucchini and peas. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and mace. Stir well to warm through. Remove from the heat.
5. Layer the potatoes and vegetable mixture in a 10-cup gratin or 9-by-13-inch baking dish by first blotting some potato slices on a paper towel, then layering them across the bottom of the dish. Add some of the vegetable mixture, spread it over the slices, then blot dry more slices and add them as another layer. Keep layering the casserole, like a lasagna, ending with a layer of potato slices.
6. Whisk the broth and cream in a large bowl. Pour it over the contents of the baking dish.
7. Bake, uncovered, basting occasionally, until it is golden and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 2 hours.
Yield: Makes about eight side-dish servings.