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Wild Mushroom Potato Gratin

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  • 1/2 lb fresh wild or exotic mushrooms such as chanterelles or shiitakes (discard shiitake stems),trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons real butter
  • 3/4 lb fresh cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3 lb russet (baking) potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 oz finely grated Gruyère (1 cup)

Cooking Instructions

This dish can be served as main course for vegetarians, or as a side dish.  Combine with a spring lamb chop or pork tenderloin for a hearty meal.

  • Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 400°F.
  • Cook chanterelles or shiitakes with salt and pepper to taste in 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes, then transfer to a bowl.
  • Cook cremini in remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in skillet, stirring, until liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes, then transfer to bowl with wild mushrooms. Toss mushrooms with 1 teaspoon garlic.
  • Peel potatoes and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices using a mandolin or electric slicer for uniformity. Store in cold salted water until ready to use, then pat dry.
  • Bring potatoes, cream, milk, salt, white pepper, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic to a boil in a 4- to 6-quart heavy pot, stirring once or twice, then remove from heat.
  • Transfer half of potatoes to buttered 15- by 10- by 2-inch oval gratin dish or other 3-qt shallow baking dish with a slotted spoon, spreading evenly. Spread mushrooms evenly over potatoes, then top with remaining potatoes. Pour cooking liquid over potatoes and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Bake gratin until top is golden brown and potatoes are tender, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.