Say hello to a healthier version of potatoes au gratin! Made with a rich red wine mornay sauce, this Red Potatoes au Gratin swaps heavier ingredients for lighter, nutrient-filled alternatives for a side dish with a little less guilt.
This post was sponsored by STAUB. All opinions are mine alone.
If comfort food is on the menu, cheesy red potatoes au gratin are a winner every time. Typically made with sliced Russet potatoes topped with grated cheese, heavy cream, lots of butter, then baked until golden brown and cheesy, potatoes au gratin is as indulgent as it gets.
And that is exactly what makes this version even better. You can still enjoy all the taste with fewer calories. With a few simple ingredient swaps, like replacing heavy cream with half and half and decreasing the butter, you can dive right in with a little less guilt. Did you know red potatoes skins are loaded with fiber, B vitamins, iron, and potassium, and they contain fewer calories and carbs than Russet potatoes?
On top of that, these au gratin potatoes are served in mini STAUB cocottes. Not only does the side dish look great in these mini cast-iron dishes, but they help control those portions too!
A few more great tips about the mini STAUB cocotte:
- Cast iron is known for being indestructible, and its versatility in the kitchen is undisputed.
- Looking for a fancy way to serve your side dish alongside your main course? A STAUB cocotte is an easy way to transition from the oven to the table by cooking in the same dish you serve in!
- Since each cocotte is made from fully enameled cast iron, they can be cleaned easily with soap and water and do not require “seasoning” (a technique typically needed to ensure your cast iron remains free of stains and rust).
- They come with a lid too! The lid helps distribute the flavor and moisture in your dish resulting in a comforting side you just can’t get enough of.
Other great ways to use your mini STAUB cocotte:
- Use it to make individual side dish servings of just about anything — from this potatoes au gratin recipe, to mac and cheese, scalloped potatoes, and various casseroles.
- It’s perfect for dessert and ideal for serving an indulgent skillet cookie, chocolate custard, mini peach cobbler, apple crisp/crumble, or molten lava cake for that special someone. Give them a spin for your next date night and even a special Valentine’s at-home dinner. And don’t forget that scoop of ice cream!
- Who doesn’t love melty cheese? Use the cocotte to bake a wedge of baby brie topped with fruit preserves and serve with crackers. You could even add it right in the middle of your charcuterie board for easy access.
- If you have breakfast or brunch on the brain, why not whip up personal-sized shakshuka (a dish made with poached eggs in a spicy tomato and pepper sauce) or a seafood or vegetable frittata.
- And last but not least, roast some garlic! That has so many uses. 🙂
Ingredients you’ll need:
- The core of a great potato au gratin is most certainly the potatoes. I used red potatoes for this recipe because of their texture, and I leave the skin-on. “Waxy” potatoes hold their shape well, and because you can leave the skin on (it’s very thin), it decreases the prep time required.
- To bring out the cheesy flavors in this recipe, you’ll make a mornay sauce, which is basically a béchamel sauce with cheese added. To make your sauce, you’ll need butter, flour, half and half, sharp cheddar cheese, Monterey jack cheese, and Fontina cheese. Other great cheese options are freshly grated Parmesan cheese and Gruyère.
- To take the cheese sauce flavor even further, you’ll need garlic, a bold red wine (Malbecs are great), and red onion.
- And because everything should be seasoned well, you’ll need Himalayan pink salt, black pepper, garlic powder, ground cumin, and celery salt.
- Before baking, you’ll top your potatoes au gratin with chopped green onion.
Making red potatoes au gratin:
To make this classic, comforting food recipe, you’ll simply slice your potatoes, make your cheese sauce, layer everything inside your STAUB cocotte, and top it off with a little more shredded cheese and green onions.
- Start with slicing the red potatoes. Place your potato slicer on the desired width, then slice the potatoes thinly. You are looking for 1/4- to 1/8-inch-thick slices. Set this to the side for a later step. (Using a mandoline slicer will make this process easy breezy.)
- Chop your Fontina cheese block into small pieces. Set this to the side for a later step.
- To begin the béchamel sauce, heat a saucepan to medium heat, then add 1 tablespoon butter.
- Once the butter melts add the chopped red onion into the saucepan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining butter, flour, and garlic into the pot and stir until it binds.
- Pour the red wine into the pot along with half and half, seasonings, Fontina cheese, Monterey cheese, and cheddar cheese, leaving 1/4 cup of the cheddar cheese to the side for topping. Slightly lower heat and stir ingredients until the cheese sauce reaches a creamy consistency.
- Layer your STAUB cocotte, starting with the cheese sauce, and then thinly sliced potatoes, edges overlapping. Continue alternating between the cheese sauce and potato layers until it reaches the top. (This should be around 3 layers of potatoes.)
- Top off with chopped green onion, then cover and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. After the hour is complete, remove the lid and top off the potatoes with cheddar cheese, baking for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese melts and is golden brown.
This au gratin recipe is comfort food at its best! Serve alongside your main course and your favorite vegetable for an unforgettable meal.
Looking for other side dish ideas? You should also check out my:
- Creamy Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
- Creamy Baked Four-Cheese Mac and Cheese
- Southern Creamed Corn
- Quick & Easy Creamed Spinach
- Southern Red Beans & Rice