Potato and Leek Gratin #SundaySupper

by Anne Papina on March 24, 2013

Potato and Leek Gratin

Spring, Daylight Savings Time, Easter–they bring rejuvenation, new beginnings, and an opportunity to bask in the warmth of longer days. We’re not very religious around here, but our family does observe all the major Christian holidays. With Easter being the most important, at least to the devout, we use this holiday to bring family and friends together in celebration. This week for #SundaySupper we’re helping you fine tune your Easter and Passover menus with dozens of recipes suitable for either holiday table (see below). Me? I’m preparing a Potato and Leek Gratin. Potatoes, leeks, cheese–how can you go wrong?

When considering traditional Easter (and Passover) fare, lamb is customary and carries special meaning for both holidays, while ham is rooted in U.S. customs. A decadent side of potatoes au gratin pairs well with both, whether you’re dining on a classic roast leg of lamb or a salty-sweet glazed ham. The thinly sliced potatoes and leeks are simmered in milk and herbs, then layered with Gruyere cheese in a gratin dish, and baked until golden and bubbly. Creamy, cheesy, potato deliciousness.

What is au gratin anyway? The term originates in France and dates back to the 16th century, referring to that part of a cooked dish which stuck to the pot or pan and had to be scraped (gratté) off so as not to be wasted. Nowadays, au gratin has come to describe a technique of creating a crisply baked top, usually with cheese. However, you can achieve the same effect without cheese, such as with gratin dauphinois, which is correctly made with sliced potatoes baked in cream and no added topping. This dish, adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, is dauphinois kicked up a notch.

The recipe can be prepped and assembled in advance, then pop it in the oven during the last hour of cooking your meal.

Potato and Leek Gratin

Wash and peel the potatoes, slicing about 1/4 inch thick.  Then wash, trim and thinly slice the leeks, as well as the garlic.

Potato and Leek Gratin

Add the potatoes, leeks and garlic to a large pot, along with the milk, bay leaf, thyme, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are mostly done but still firm. Remove the bay leaf, then drain, reserving the milk.

Potato and Leek Gratin

While the potatoes are simmering, grate the cheese. It’s easy work if you have one of those Zyliss numbers. By the way, feel free to sub in Emmental or Swiss instead of the Gruyere.

Potato and Leek Gratin

Before piling stuff in, you’ll need to rub the dish down with garlic then grease it with butter. This should have been a gratin dish, but since I don’t have one, I’m using my trusty Corningware Oval 2 Quart Casserole. Start with a layer of the potato/leek/garlic mixture on the bottom, sprinkle that with a little pepper and nutmeg, then top with a handful of cheese. Repeat this until all the potatoes and cheese are used up, saving some cheese for the top. Pour the reserved milk over this until it comes up to the top layer of potatoes.

Potato and Leek Gratin

Bake until golden and bubbly.

Potato and Leek Gratin


5.0 from 3 reviews
Potato and Leek Gratin
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Thinly sliced potatoes and leeks are simmered in milk and herbs, layered with Gruyere cheese in a gratin dish, and then baked until golden and bubbly making a perfect Potato and Leek Gratin.
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: French
Serves: 6
  • 3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 leeks, washed, trimmed, and thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • Pepper
  • Grated nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp butter
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare a 9x12 inch gratin dish by rubbing with garlic and greasing with butter.
  2. In a large pot, add the potatoes, milk, bay leaf, thyme, sliced garlic, leeks, and salt. Gradually bring to a boil, and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender (but not falling apart). Remove the bay leaf, and drain, reserving the milk.
  3. On the bottom of the gratin dish, arrange a layer of the potato/leek/garlic mixture, sprinkle with a little pepper and nutmeg, then cover with a handful of the cheese. Repeat layers until all the potatoes and cheese have been used (ending with the cheese on top).
  4. Add the milk so that it reaches the top layer (about 1½ cups), then dot the butter over the top.
  5. Bake for an hour or until golden and bubbly.


Let’s see what the others have cooked up for us!


Breakfast, Breads, and Buns

Appetizers and Sides

Main Dishes




Wine Pairing Recommendations for #SundaySupper Religious Feasts from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday, March 24 to talk all about Easter and Passover recipes! We’ll tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more delicious recipes and food photos.

Note: I earn a modest commission from any purchases made through the Amazon.com links on this page.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Leave a Comment

Rate this recipe:  

CommentLuv badge

{ 23 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: