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Herbed Potato Gratin With Roasted Garlic and Manchego

This recipe for potato gratin is layered with two favorite Spanish cheeses—nutty, aged Manchego and smoky San Simón.

Jose Garces’ Thanksgiving menu reflects his personal background, said April White in Food & Wine. His family arrived in the U.S. from Ecuador in 1967, and he now oversees restaurants in Philadelphia and Chicago that serve Spanish and Mexican cuisine. This dish is layered with two favorite Spanish cheeses—nutty, aged Manchego and smoky San Simón.

3 heads garlic cloves separated, not peeled
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 quart half-and-half
1 tbsp chopped thyme
1 tsp chopped rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper
5 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
9 oz aged Manchego cheese, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
5 oz San Simón or smoked Gouda cheese, shredded (1 cup)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In 9-inch cake pan, drizzle garlic with oil. Cover with foil and roast for 40 minutes, until tender. Let cool, then squeeze out cloves. Mash garlic to a paste and transfer to saucepan. Add half-and-half, thyme, and rosemary and bring to boil. Simmer over very low heat until reduced to 3 cups, 20 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Arrange one-fourth of potatoes in bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with one-fourth of shredded cheeses and drizzle lightly with the garlic cream. Repeat layering with remaining potatoes, cheese, and cream. Pour any remaining cream on top and press top layer of potatoes to submerge it. Bake gratin for about 1-1/2 hours, until golden and bubbling. Let cool for 20 minutes before cutting into squares and serving. Serves 12.

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