Individual Potato Gratins (Gratin du Jabron)

February 13th, 2013

What could be better than a crispy, crusty potato gratin?  When cooked in a single large casserole that crispy goodness is limited to the edges.  But when cooked in small gratin dishes it is everywhere.  I improvised by using my small tartlet pans because that was all I had.  I had to wrap the bottom and outside with foil so that the butter and cream wouldn’t seep out.

I bought a big wedge of Gruyere cheese while at Costco last week.  It is one of my favorite cheeses for potato dishes and quiches.  It was wonderful on this gratin.  I adapted the recipe from one in a Patricia Wells cookbook.  She says the recipe was named for the Jabron river in the Drome region of France.  It is served at the Relais and Chateaux designated hotel and restaurant La Bonne Etape.

The charming restaurant has earned one Michelin star and, although it is elegant, it is known for its classic bistro-style cooking.  I love the beamed ceiling and antique furniture.  The grounds include an organic garden, swimming pool and lovely outdoor seating.  It has been run by the Gleize family for generations.  It would be a great vacation destination someday.  It won’t be this year, although we are going back to France.  Our summer trip this year will be a motorcycle tour led by our intrepid French friends Laurent and Carole.  They have traveled the world on their bike.  Laurent wants to start a motorcycle tour business and we and our riding buddies from our Alaska trip will be his first customers.  He is taking us from the Loire Valley up to Normandy and Omaha Beach, then down into Dordorgne, Perigord and into Provence.  It will be a two week ride.  David and I will then spend three days in Paris before flying home.  I can hardly wait to go back.

In the meantime I will enjoy this little taste of France.



4 medium to large russet potatoes, peeled
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream

Place the potatoes in a single layer in a saucepan.  Cover with water, add salt to taste.  Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until nealy cooked through but still firm in the center, about 15 minutes.  Drain and let cool.  Cut into thin slices (This step can be done several hours in advance.)

Preheat the broiler.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the potatoes and garlic and saute, shaking the pan from time to time, until nicely browned, about 10 minutes.

With a spoon, transfer the potatoes to 4 individual 6-inch round gratin dishes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with cheese, dot with the cream.  Broil until brown and bubble, about 2 minutes.  4 servings.

Printable recipe

12 responses to “Individual Potato Gratins (Gratin du Jabron)”

  1. Penny says:

    You are going back to France this summer??? How wonderful! I am thrilled for you. This dish looks yummy and another FG picture worthy pic.
    p.s. when will you be back up here?

  2. Joan Nova says:

    Looks like a wonderful dish and I love the photos!

  3. Jane says:

    This looks so delicious, Penny. And doable. I’m going to give it a try. The restaurant is simply beautiful. I’m so happy to hear you are going back to France! I am really looking forward to hearing about it, what an experience it will be on bikes!


  4. Karen says:

    Adorable little tarts and I’m sure they delicioso! Sounds like you have a great trip planned!

  5. Eileen says:

    These look wonderful! The restaurant looks lovely, too. How exciting that you’ll be going back to France. Enjoy!

  6. bellini says:

    Your trip souns amazing as do these potatoes

  7. Larry says:

    Good idea to increase the crispy part Penny. Cooked in individual servings, a casserole, or a 55 gallon drum, I love cheesy potatoes.

  8. Mary says:

    Wow Penny, how great that you are returning to France. That tour sounds awesome and you’ll cover many, many miles – padded seat I hope!!!! You will love all those areas so much. Be sure to visit Aix en Provence in Provence, one of my favorite towns for markets, restaurants, history, and everything Provencal.

    This recipe sounds delish, but I’d have to leave out the ham. Love Gruyere cheese…….mixed with cheddar and parmesan it makes the best from scratch ‘posh macaroni and cheese’ ever. Attended a cooking class with Patricia Wells some years back at Southern Season in Chapel Hill, and was given a copy of her “The Provence Cookbook”. Have to admit I’ve never made anything from it………………….yet!

    I’m back from Antarctica – the most amazing journey ever!
    Hugs – Mary

    • Penny says:

      Mary, So glad you are back. Your trip was awesome. You have traveled the world like I would have wanted to experience. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. But just a little correction. My recipe has no ham (Jambon) in it. It was named for the Jabron river in Drome. Just potatoes, butter, cheese and cream. I love it and I know you would too. Welcome home.

  9. Susan says:

    What a wonderful idea to make them smaller to get more crispy goodness. What a wonderful trip you have planned! What a fun trip you have planned!

  10. Debora Robertson says:

    These look so good! Beautiful pictures. Gruyere is one of my favourite cheeses to cook with, it has such a wonderful texture and flavour. Your trip sounds wonderful, what an adventure.

  11. Cathy at Wives with Knives says:

    What a wonderful trip, Penny! I will look forward to hearing all about your motorcycle adventure in France. I enjoy the crusty bits on potatoes too. Making little gratins is a great idea.

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