For this second holiday dish in our Mexican-fusion holiday meal we made a typical yukon gold gratin but layered in roasted anaheim and poblano chiles as well as thinly sliced fennel to create an uber-decadent side dish.
For this dish I really wanted something that emulated the creamy delicious rajas we get at El Callejon, a Mexican restaurant in Encinitas. Rajas, as we know them, are a Mexican side dish of stewed chiles in cream. I figured what better way to get the sensation of rajas but also have a classic holiday potato dish than to have the chiles “stew” in the cream while the gratin is baking. There’s no getting around how incredibly rich this side dish is and there’s also no getting around how freaking delicious it is either! Whether it’s for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any old night this gratin is worth giving a whirl.
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
*4 anaheim chile peppers, roasted skinned, seeded and sliced
*5 poblano peppers, roasted, skinned, seeded and sliced
5 medium yukon gold potatos, cut into 1/8" thick slices
1 fennel bulb, shaved into slices as thin as possible.
6 oz gruyere, shredded
1 cup panko
Preheat oven to 375 degrees with a rack position in the center of the oven.
Place heavy cream, salt and pepper into a small sauce pan. Place pan over medium heat. Heat until salt has dissolved and cream is warm, stirring occasionally, about 6-8 minutes.
Spray an 8 quart baking dish with cooking spray(I used an 8x11.5" glass dish).
Layer about 1/3 of the potato slices evenly over the bottom of the pan. Next evenly layer 1/3 of the the chile slices and 1/3 of the fennel over the potatoes. Evenly pour 1/3 of the cream over the ingredients in the pan then sprinkle with 1/3 of cheese. Repeat this process 2 more time until all of the ingredients have been used, starting each layer with potatoes and finishing with cream and cheese.
Using a spatula, gently press on the ingredients to help compact the layers. Evenly sprinkle the top of the gratin with the panko bread crumbs.
Cover gratin with aluminum foil.
Place baking dish into the preheated 350 degree oven. Bake, covered with foil, for 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for another 30-40 minutes or until the top layer and edges are golden.
Remove from oven and let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
This dish can be made 24 hours in advance; Cool completely before covering and storing chilled. Allow gratin to come to room temperature before reheating in a 350 degree oven. Enjoy!
* To roast chiles simply char all sides of the chiles under the broiler or over an open flame then place into a sealable plastic bag and let steam for at least 10 minutes. At that point you can easily rub off the charred skins and remove the seeds and stems.