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REC: Granny's Ham and Potato Gratin >>

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Joined: Dec 14, 2005


Posted to Thread #392 at 5:32 am on Jan 12, 2006

from Julia Child's The Way to Cook.

I always make this with the leftover Easter ham and we look forward to it almost more than the Easter spread itself. For me the recipe fills 2 large (10" x 15") Pyrex baking dishes. It halves easily. I don't think the gratin would freeze well but I've frozen chopped ham and the sauce just for this recipe.


Here is a great crowd pleaser, as well as a deliciously economical one that needs only a copious salad, a loaf of bread, and a jug of light red wine to make the meal.

For 18 to 24 servings

10 lbs "boiling" potatoes

Sauce ingredients:
5 oz. (1-1/4 sticks) butter
1 cup flour
6-1/2 cups hot milk
Salt and pepper
A pinch of nutmeg
2 large cloves of garlic, pureed
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. thyme or sage

4 cups coarsely grated cheese--Swiss or a mixture such as Swiss, Mozzarella, Jack and/or Cheddar
1-1/2 to 2 quarts cooked ham, diced, thinly sliced or ground, (to make 6-8 cups) [You can use more, if you have it.]

A food processor is useful for slicing and grating; and 8-quart covered kettle for the potatoes; a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan for the sauce; a buttered 6-quart baking dish about 3 inches deep for the final gratin

The potatoes:
Have ready the kettle with 4 quarts of cold water. Peel the potatoes and slice them 1/4-inch thick, dropping them into the cold water as you do so. Cover the kettle and bring to the boil. Uncover and boil slowly 3 to 4 minutes, until barely cooked through--eat several slices to check. Drain, cover the kettle again for 3 to 4 minutes to firm up the potato slices, then uncover.

The garlic-mustard sauce:
Make the classic white sauce: cook the butter and flour together in the saucepan until they foam and froth for 2 minutes without coloring; off heat pour in half of the hot milk; whisk vigorously as you pour in the rest; simmer 3 minutes, stirring. Remove from heat and whisk in the seasonings, bring to the simmer again, taste carefully, and add additional seasonings to taste.

Spoon a 1/16-inch layer of sauce on the bottom of the buttered baking dish. Set aside 3 cups of the sauce and 1 cup of the cheese for the topping. Now, to arrange everything in 4 layers, start with a quarter of the potatoes, then a quarter of the ham, follow by a third of the sauce and sprinkle on a third of the cheese. Continue in layers, finishing the final layer with remaining potatoes and ham; spread on the reserved 3 cups of sauce to cover completely, then the last of the cheese

Ahead-of-time note:
May be prepared a day in advance; cover when cool, and refrigerate.

Baking--about 45 minutes at 375*:
An hour before you plan to serve, preheat the oven to 375*F. Bake in the upper third level just until the potatoes and bubbling hot and the top has browned nicely.

Ahead-of-time note:
May be kept warm uncovered on a hot tray but be sure not to overheat or the gratin will dry out."

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