Potatisgratäng (potato gratin) was fashionable in restaurants in the 1970s, but was often a bit of a gooey mess because it had been hanging around for too long. It really is worth revisiting, because when homemade and straight from the oven it is a great classic.
Some recipes for potatisgratäng add cheese, usually gruyere, emmental or grevé, a semi-hard Swedish cheese. Sometimes that can work well, but sometimes it can mask the potato flavour too much.
Swedes normally serve potatisgratäng with roast meat, especially lamb and venison. My favourite is to serve potatisgratäng with tjälknöl, an ingenious dish from nothern Sweden in which a fillet of reindeer (or you can use venison or beef) is cooked incredibly slowly from frozen, then marinated for hours before being served cold in very thin slices. Whilst this might not sound so good I promise you that the taste is stunning. John Duxbury
• As an alternative consider gratäng med potatis och rotselleri (potato and celeriac gratin). It is less creamy, has more "bite" and can made in individual portions, which will keep their shape well if they are reheated.
• Swedes have several variations on the basic recipe which you might like to try including adding a little freshly grated nutmeg or some diced smoked ham.
|1 kg||(2 lb)||floury poatoes such as King Edward or Desirée|
|250 ml||(1 cup)||milk|
|250 ml||(1 cup)||whipping cream|
|1||onion, thinly sliced|
|½||leek, thinly slice crossways|
|3||cloves of garlic, crushed|
|salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste|
|butter for greasing a gratin dish|
|finely chopped chives (optional)|
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas 6, fan 180°C).
2. Peel the potatoes and give them a quick rinse.
3. Cut them into approximately 3 mm (⅛") thick slices, but don't rinse again.
4. Add the sliced potatoes, milk and whipping cream to a saucepan and bring them to a boil. Simmer for about 8 minutes until soft without disintegrating.
5. Add the onion, leek, garlic and seasoning and mix.
6. Thoroughly grease a large shallow gratin dish.
7. Transfer the mixture to the gratin dish and bake for about 40 minutes until beginning to colour.
8. Garnish with finely chopped chives before serving if desired.
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