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Two Potato, Bacon and Thyme Gratin

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I found myself with an abundance of potatoes and sweet potatoes in the potato bin at the weekend and wanted to use some of them up, so I decided to make a tasty gratin with them.

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With any luck the weather will soon be changing and getting a lot warmer ('tis been cool this weekend!) and we won't be eating many things that come from the oven and so I thought I would take the opportunity to get one more oven bake in before that happens, and we start eating salads.

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I love gratins . . .  you can turn almost any vegetable into a gratin.  They are simply thinly sliced veg, layered in a shallow casserole, covered with seasoned cream, and cheese (yes please!) and baked until the vegetables are deliciously tender, the cream has thickened into a rich unctuous sauce . . . and the cheese is all scrummily golden brown on top.

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On this day I added the glorious treat of a middle layer of fried bacon and onions . . . because I could, and because I had some back bacon that needed using up as well . . . and because . . .  well, it's BACON!  Why not!

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Bacon has that thing about it you know . . . that thing where it automatically makes everything taste somehow better.  Even sweet things.   Candy coated bacon.  Yum.   Chocolate dipped bacon.  Yum.   Bacon Jam.  Yum.  Bacon Cookies. Yum.  Don't laugh, I've found recipes for all these things which sound crazily delish . . . but I digress . . .

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Two Potato, Bacon and Thyme Gratin.  Delicious.   Layers of tender sweet and white potatoes, with a middle layer of bacon, onions and thyme . . .  doused in cream, slathered with cheese, and baked until it is meltingly, richly, unctuously delicious.   What more could a person ask for . . . I reckon not much!  Well, maybe a hunk of crusty bread to mop all those tasty juices . . . sigh . . .

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*Two Potato, Bacon and Thyme Gratin*
Serves 6 to 8

Bubbling and creamy on the insides and crisp and golden on the outside with cheese and a hidden layer of bacon and onion in the middle.
What's not to like?

2 TBS olive oil
a pound of smoked back bacon, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 TBS chopped fresh thyme leaves
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound of white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 pound of sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
300ml of single or regular cream (about 1 1/2 cups)
50g grated Gruyere and cheddar cheese, mixed (about 1/2 cup)

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Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6  Butter a shallow baking dish, or gratin dish.  Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.   Add the bacon and fry for about 5 minutes until crispy.  Stir in the onion, and cook for several minutes longer to soften the onion.  Stir in the garlic and thyme.   Cook until very fragrant.  

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Begin to layer the potatoes in the casserole dish, layering in half of them.  Season lightly with salt and pepper as you go, bearing in mind that bacon is salty.   Once you have half the potatoes in.  Spread over the cooked bacon and onion mixture.  Top with the remaining potatoes, seasoning lightly.  Pour the cream over top.  Cover tightly with foil and place into the heated oven.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkle on the cheeses.   Bake for a further 30 to 35 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the casserole is lightly browned and a bit crispy on top.  Serve warm.
Marie Rayner
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  1. This looks really delicious, and thanks for a little explanation of what a gratin is, as I don't think I've ever actually made one.

  2. You're welcome Claire! We love Gratins in this house. I often make them using whatever I have in the larder. They make great side dishes or even mains! xxoo


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