- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 onion, halved
Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 thyme sprigs, plus a sprinkle of leaves
- 600ml pot double cream
- 600ml whole milk
One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…
- 140g diced pancetta
Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly - the equivalent of streaky bacon. It has a deep, strong,…
- 25g butter, plus a knob
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
- 250g wild mushrooms, roughly chopped after cleaning
The mushroom is a fungus which comes in a wide range of varieties that belong to two distinct…
- 1¼kg medium potato (we used Maris Piper)
The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…
- 1 whole nutmeg
One of the most useful of spices for both sweet and savoury…
- green salad, to serve (optional)
Put the garlic cloves, onion, bay leaves, thyme, double cream and milk in a pan. Bring slowly to the boil over a low heat, partially cover with a lid and cook for 20-30 mins until the onion is tender and the cream mixture slightly thickened. Turn off and leave everything to infuse for 1 hr.
Strain the cream mixture into a jug (or bowl) and discard the herbs. Put the garlic cloves and onion in a food processor or blender and whizz until smooth – add a drop of the cream if it helps. Stir the paste back into the rest of the cream and season with 2 tsp salt.
Put the pancetta in a cold frying pan and cook gently, over a low-medium heat so the fat melts into the pan, until the pancetta is really crispy. Lift out with a slotted spoon, add the butter and mushrooms and turn up the heat, frying the mushrooms, until golden and dry.
Leave the skins on the potatoes and slice as thinly as possible. Grease a large baking dish with a little more butter. Layer up the potato slices, scattering over some of the cooked pancetta, the mushrooms and a little freshly grated nutmeg and pepper as you go. Finish by slowly pouring over the cream so that it settles among all the layers, then scatter over a few more thyme leaves. Cover with foil.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Bake the gratin for 1 hr, then remove the foil and bake for 35-45 mins more until golden and crispy on top. Poke a knife in to check the potatoes are tender, then leave for 10-15 mins to settle, before serving with a salad, if you like.