Potato-Fennel Gratin

Total Time:
2 hr 15 min
20 min
10 min
1 hr 45 min

10 servings

  • 2 small fennel bulbs
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes (4 large potatoes)
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese (1/2 pound)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter the inside of a 10-by-15-by-2-inch (10-cup) baking dish.

Remove the stalks from the fennel and cut the bulbs in half lengthwise. Remove the cores and thinly slice the bulbs crosswise, making approximately 4 cups of sliced fennel. Saute the fennel and onions in the olive oil and butter on medium-low heat for 15 minutes, until tender.

Peel the potatoes, then thinly slice them by hand or with a mandoline. Mix the sliced potatoes in a large bowl with 2 cups of cream, 2 cups of Gruyère, salt, and pepper. Add the sauteed fennel and onion and mix well.

Pour the potatoes into the baking dish. Press down to smooth the potatoes. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of cream and 1/2 cup of Gruyère and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, until the potatoes are very tender and the top is browned and bubbly. Allow to set for 10 minutes and serve.

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    159 Reviews
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    I made this for friends, it was a big hit. I didn't have enough cream on hand so I used 1 cup of cream and 1/2 cup of sour cream that I had on hand. I also made it a day ahead. It turned out great0
    Excellent recipe! Even my 2-year old couldn't have enough of it.
    The only potato gratin I'll ever make. No need to try other recipes, they can't beat this. It is a MUST on our holiday menus.
    You need look no further for an impressive guest worthy potatoe gratin. Rich and decadent.
    Made this for our annual girl scout potluck. Kids and adults alike loved this dish. I am going to make it again for the family Christmas party. Cannot recommend enough!
    I made this on Friday for a Xmas potluck. I added 2 more potatoes, 3 cloves minced garlic, sliced leeks, along with some Herbs de Provence (per Dave Lieberman) & fresh grated nutmeg on top. Living at 6000 ft altitude, I baked at 375 for 2 total hrs (covered, then uncovered last 30 min). I let it rest for about 15 min & it set perfectly! An awesome hit with everyone, as there were no leftovers :(! Will def have to make this again! I love Ina!
    This recipe was a big success! I did make a couple of modifications. Instead of heavy cream, I used half and half. And I used less of it. For the final 2 tbsp of heavy cream for over the top, I substituted plain Greek yogurt with a little half and half and added the cheese. Overall, I reduced the amount of liquid and cheese added, to reduce fat and cholesterol, and it was still cheesy and delicious. Was sorry to have to leave leftovers at my Host's home. Will definitely make it again.
    These potatoes are divine. I make them all the time. The last time I made them a guest went back 4 times.
    Delish. I wanted some comfort food and this was the winner. I divided the recipe in half b/c I was only feeding two and we still had some left over. I reheated it the next day; it held its flavor beautifully. Thanks Ina!
    Oh the whole I am not a huge fennel fan....but I had a bulb intended for another recipe that I never ended up getting the rest of the ingredients for and was looking for something to do with my lurking fennel bulb. This was very tasty
    This is a lovely dish; my favorite is the crispy edges with the soft center! This has been a family staple for Easter for a decade!
    This one's a real keeper. Will continue to use this for large holiday gatherings as it requires quite a bit of prep?? including dragging out the mandoline. Better to make a day ahead. Bring back to room temp and reheat at 325 for 40 mins. Comes out great. Gets raves from guests. Goes well with Ham or Beef Roast. Oh... Yukon Golds are the way to go.
    This is the best potato gratin ever. The fennel makes it amazing. I used a bit more cheese than the recipe called for only because I had two 6 oz wedges and thought, why not?
    This is my "go to" potato recipe for dinner guests! I have used russet, gold and red potatoes, all work! For a lighter dish, I use half and half. An Ina classic!
    I followed the recipe exactly, however, I did not care for it too much because it was overly rich. If I make it again, I would use plain 2% milk vs the cream the recipe recommends. I also felt like there was something missing in terms of flavor, but I can't put my finger on it. I would also recommend using Yukon gold vs the russet potato the recipe calls for. I have done gratins before and Yukon gold always holds up, the russet potato, unfortunately fell apart and it just didn't look pretty :(
    We love scalloped potato dishes and have tried a lot. This will be my go to recipe for the holidays. Rich, creamy and very favorable. I followed recipe exactly but use 13x9 dish and was ready in 1 hour, For those who do not care for fennel you do not get a licorice taste. There is a unique flavor and the blend of fennel, onion, cheese and potatoes is wonderful. Thank you Ina!
    This recipe is absolutely amazing! I had only eaten fennel once in a French restaurant. I found the taste of the restaurant dish interesting but not a favorite. I am not a big fan of anise flavoring. This dish adds a fabulous complexity to au gratin potatoes. The only problem I had was staying away from the leftovers. I probably would not have had leftovers if it weren't for the fact there were only two of us. This is a must try dish!
    Last night I served this to six of us and it was great! I made it earlier in the day. Next time would probably make it a day ahead. I had never made this before but that is the confidence I have in Ina's recipes. They are dependable and delicious.
    I made this for Easter and it was delicious. Per the instructions in the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, I made this a day in advance. After 65 minutes in the oven, it was quite browned and a paring knife easily slid through the potatoes, so I let it cool on the counter for a bit before refrigerating it. The cookbook said to reheat it for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, but I found it was very unevenly heated. Next time, I will take it out of the fridge 20 minutes or so before baking, or extend the baking time, or both.
    delicious but the amount of cream is obscene. nice balance of fennel to potato. i added a bit of chive for color and flavor
    It was the first dish to go at our Easter celebration. Absolutely delicious and easy to make. Thanks Ina
    I've been making this for years and it is always a hit. However, I have learned to use Yukon Gold potatoes rather than the russets. They hold their shape better but perhaps even more important - the end result looks so much prettier. The russets take on a grayish cast when they are cooked but the Yukon Golds retain their yellow color... much more appetizing. This is YUMMY STUFF!!
    Outstanding! Made for a friend's birthday party for 12. Increased the potatoes only by 1/3 and used half-and-half instead of heavy cream. Not a speck left in the pan.
    This is my go to au gratin recipe for almost every holiday! Everyone loves them! And so easy to prepare.
    This is an amazing combination and is always a huge hit! Not the healthiest meal... but for a party or holiday it is worth it!
    I made this for dinner the other night and holy moly it was AMAZING!!!! I've been wanting to find a good recipe for gratin or scalloped potatoes because i dont really like making them for a box. It kinda freaks me out using dehydrated potatoes and powdered cheese. Well look no further because this is spot on fantastic!!!
    The best!! A real crowd pleaser :P
    First time I ever cooked with fennel. Have to admit I'm not a fan of licorice and when I smelled it when cutting the two bulbs, I almost didn't use them. So glad I did. There really is no licorice taste (thank goodness once sautéed with the onions, nor in the finished dish. I was asked to bring this dish to Christmas dinner 2011. Guests absolutely were delighted with multiple helpings. I would highly recommend this high caloric dish for special occasions.
    Just made a quarter portion of this as a test for our Christmas Day meal. Oh my!!! This is so good I am trying not to eat it all and lick the casserole! The fennel really jazzes up the stolid taste of potatoes alone. This will be a winning accompaniment to our baked ham. Also making Ina's Applesauce for this meal.
    I am requested to make this each year and have so since it was first published. This is the best potatoes ever!!!! A must have for any special occasion.
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