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The French "gratin" refers to both the side dish and the actual dish it is served in. You do not need any fancy imported dish to make scalloped potatoes - a simple Pyrex dish will suffice.
Just keep in mind that the whole idea behind this recipe is to lay the potatoes and cover them with cream or milk in a manner that provides the most surface area; you want as much browned surface as possible, as that is the true treat of this dish.
One debate around this dish is the ingredients. I think the best gratins should be nothing more than potatoes, milk, butter and garlic. Other feel that it needs to be topped with cheese, while others profess that heavy cream is the only way to go. America scalloped potatoes tend to incorporate flour to achieve a really thick white sauce.
The fact of the matter is - this dish should not be complicated. It is an everyday side dish perfect for lamb, chicken and beef. Try making it different ways everytime until you find your favorite way.
2 pounds Yukon Gold (or Russet) potatoes
Preheat oven to 325. Peel potatoes and slice thin into 1/8 to 1/16 of an inch. Butter a 14x8x2 baking dish. Sprinkle in the minced garlic. Layer in the potatoes, sprinkling them with salt and pepper as you go. Pour in the milk, adding more or using less so make sure that the potatoes are just barely covered. Dot surface with the sliced butter.
Bake for 45 minutes with aluminum foil on top. Remove foil and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until top is nicely browned.
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