Serves 8-10 as a side
- approx. 3-4 large potatoes (5 cups peeled and sliced)
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 small white onion, peeled and diced
- 3-4 Tbs butter for sauteing onions and mushrooms
- approx. 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- approx. 3 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups grated Swiss cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
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Melt 3 or 4 Tbs of butter on medium high heat in a 10-inch cast iron skillet, or oven proof deep saute pan, and add 1/2 of a small diced white onion, about 8-ounces of sliced mushrooms and a sprinkling of dried thyme.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and, while the mushrooms are cooking, take a minute to peel and thinly slice about 5 cups of potatoes. After the potatoes are peeled, cut them in half lengthwise, so you can have a flat surface against the cutting board, and then cut them crosswise into 1/8-inch thick slices.
The mushrooms are going to take a little while to cook. You want most of the water cooked out, so keep your eye on them and stir them around once in a while. You also need to grate 1 1/2 - 2 cups of Swiss cheese. When you're happy with the mushrooms, add the sliced potatoes to the pan and about 2 cups of heavy cream. Add about 1/2 of the grated cheese to that and stir it around so that everything is well mixed, then top it with a little more heavy cream, so it just comes to the top of the potatoes, and then finish by sprinkling the rest of the cheese on top.
Carefully put the skillet into the oven to bake on top of a baking tray in case it bubbles over. It’ll take about 35-40 minutes to bake and it's not a bad idea to let it cool down and set up a bit before you slice it to serve.
If you don't have an oven proof skillet, use a deep dish pie plate instead to bake the gratin. You'll still have to saute the mushrooms and onions before assembling the dish and it's a good idea to heat the cream separately before pouring it over the potatoes and mushrooms so that the gratin is already somewhat hot when you put it in the oven. Instead of all heavy cream, use equal parts milk and heavy cream. Just using milk isn't quite the same and stay away from half and half because it tends to break, or curdle, as it bakes.