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Holiday Potato Casserole With Gouda, Garlic and Thyme

Serves 8 to 10 as a side dish

The potatoes can be quickly sliced in a food processor fitted with a slicing disk. Whole peeled potatoes can be placed in water to prevent discoloring; once sliced, however, do not immerse them, because they will leach the starch necessary for thickening the sauce. The large, coarse grains of kosher salt make sprinkling easy, which is why we use it here instead of table salt. If you can find it, try substituting rich, creamy Italian (not Danish) fontina cheese for the Gouda.


8 ounces Gouda cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
4 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/8-inch thick
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


1. Adjust one oven rack to lower-middle position and second oven rack to highest position; heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss together cheese, garlic, and thyme in small bowl; set aside.

2. Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming; whisk in flour and cook until golden and bubbly, about 30 seconds. Whisking constantly, gradually add chicken stock. Increase heat to high, add bay leaf, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Off heat, remove and discard bay leaf; cover to keep sauce warm.

3. Alternating Yukon Gold and russet slices, arrange a third of potatoes in overlapping rows in a baking pan. Sprinkle potato layer evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and a third of cheese mixture. Make a second layer with same amount of potatoes, salt, pepper, and cheese. Make a third layer with same amount of potatoes, salt, and pepper, but reserve remaining cheese. Pour warm sauce over potatoes, tilting pan side to side to distribute evenly. Cover with foil and bake on lower-middle rack 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes longer. Remove potatoes from oven and sprinkle with remaining cheese; bake on highest rack until cheese is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and serve.

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November, 1999. Reprinted with permission of Cook’s Illustrated.

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