This recipe for gourmet potatoes au gratin is the perfect dish to honor the winter holiday of Imbolc.
With seasonal ingredients like rosemary, russet potatoes, and early spring garlic, herbal potatoes au gratin is a decadent, satisfying twist on a French classic.
Every year, I select a recipe to try for Imbolc that includes ingredients sacred to the season.
Imbolc is both a winter holiday and a time to give thanks for nourishment through the winter—especially for dairy, which was often a source of sustenance while the land was barren.
For this reason, I choose a recipe rich in dairy, potatoes, and rosemary.
Rosemary is my go-to Imbolc herb. It’s an evergreen, a sign of hope and promise in the darkness.
Metaphysically, rosemary is associated with protection on the homefront. The hearth & home are key symbols of Imbolc, as they offer warmth, safety and security during the harshest months of the year.
Garlic is best known for its protective properties. But in the context of Imbolc, it is a symbol of the Earth’s stored potential and its inevitable reemergence as the light returns in the spring.
Cream & Cheese
Dairy is the hallmark symbol of Imbolc. I include it in all my Imbolc recipes. If at all possible, sourcing your dairy locally or, at the very least, from a trusted ethical dairy farmer, is a great way to show your respect for both the animals who produced it, and the sacredness of the holiday.
- 2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 cup Gouda cheese, shredded
- 1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
- 1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Butter or organic cooking spray, for greasing
Step 1: Preheat the Oven
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
Step 2: Prepare the Potatoes
Peel and thinly slice the russet potatoes. You can use a mandoline slicer for even and thin slices, aiming for about 1/8-inch thickness.
Step 3: Create the Cheese Blend
In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded Gouda, Gruyere, and Cheddar cheeses. Mix well to create a deliciously gooey cheese blend.
Step 4: Make the Creamy Sauce
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant. Sprinkle the flour over the garlic and butter, stirring continuously to create a roux. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the roux is lightly golden.
Step 5: Add the Cream
Gradually pour in the heavy cream while stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens, usually 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Step 6: Infuse with Rosemary
Add the finely chopped fresh rosemary to the cream mixture, stirring to infuse the sauce with the aromatic flavors. Let it simmer for an additional 2 minutes.
Step 7: Assemble the Layers
Arrange a layer of sliced potatoes in the greased baking dish, slightly overlapping each slice. Sprinkle a generous portion of the cheese blend over the potatoes. Pour a portion of the cream and rosemary mixture over the cheese.
Step 8: Repeat
Continue layering potatoes, cheese, and cream until you’ve used all the ingredients, finishing with a layer of cheese and a drizzle of the cream mixture on top.
Step 9: Bake to Perfection
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove the foil to allow the top to brown, and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, and the top is golden and bubbly.
Step 10: Let it Rest
Once baked to perfection, remove the dish from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. This allows the potatoes to set, making it easier to serve.
Step 11: Serve and Enjoy
Slice into portions, scoop onto plates, and savor the creamy, cheesy goodness of your gourmet Potatoes au Gratin with Gouda, Rosemary, Gruyere, and Cheddar. Pair it with a green salad or enjoy it as a decadent side dish to complement your favorite main course.