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Potato, Leek and California Walnut Gratin

If gratin could be a season, fall would be it. Potatoes, leeks and other hardy vegetables are at their peak, and when it’s turning cold outside, a comforting dish of them bubbly and baked, topped with cheese, is a welcome way to warm the house. Gruyère cheese and California walnuts add a sophisticated depth of flavour to each bite.

This warming dish would make a fantastic meatless meal, or a perfect side if you’re already planning Thanksgiving dinner. It’s perfect for potlucks – bake it to the point where it needs the topping, then transport where you need to go. Uncover, scatter with Gruyère, panko and walnuts and bake to heat through.

Potato, Leek and California Walnut Gratin

2 tbsp butter
2 leeks, thinly sliced (white and light green part only)
4 to 5 medium russet (baking) potatoes
Salt and pepper
1 1/3 cups grated Gruyère cheese, divided
1 cup whipping cream or half & half
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
3/4 cup California walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a medium pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add leeks and sauté until tender; set aside.

Peel and slice potatoes into 1/8 inch thick rounds using a mandolin or sharp knife.

In an 8-inch baking dish, arrange a quarter of potato slices in rows slightly overlapping until the bottom is covered. Season lightly with salt and pepper, sprinkle with a quarter of the sautéed leeks, 1/4 cup of Gruyère and drizzle with 1/4 cup cream. Repeat layers three more times for a total of four layers.

Pour broth over the potatoes, cover dish with foil and place on a baking sheet to catch any liquid that may bubble over.

Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a knife goes through each layer without resistance.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining Gruyère, panko and walnuts and season with salt and pepper.

Remove dish from oven, uncover and top evenly with walnut mix. Return to oven for 15 minutes or until walnuts are golden brown.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: about 496 cal, 14 g pro, 35 g fat (17 g sat. fat), 34 g carb, 5 g fibre, 87 mg chol, 489 mg sodium. %RDI: 29% calcium, 17% iron, 29% vit A, 31% vit C

Recipe and photo courtesy of walnutinfo.com

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