Aired September 4, 2008
2 cups heavy cream
4 cloves garlic (3 cloves cracked and peeled, 1 clove grated or finely chopped), divided
A few grates fresh nutmeg
Salt and ground black pepper
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into rounds 1/4-inch thick
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
1/2 pound deli ham, such as black forest or rosemary, thinly sliced then chopped
1 1/2 cups apple juice or cider
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
6 thyme sprigs
1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeds removed
1 large chicken (about 5 pounds), cut into 8 pieces
EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a bowl, combine the chicken stock, heavy cream, grated garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Arrange half of the potatoes in the bottom of a casserole dish and spread them out in an even layer. Pour half of the cream mixture over the potatoes and sprinkle half of the ham and half of the cheese. Top that layer with the reaming potatoes (you can arrange the top layer decoratively if you are in the mood). Pour the remaining cream mixture over them and sprinkle with the remaining ham and then the cheese.
Cover the dish with foil, place the baking dish on a baking sheet (it's likely to boil over a bit while in the oven and this will save you from a big oven cleaning), and transfer it to the oven. Bake the dish until the potatoes feel tender when a paring knife is inserted into the center of the dish, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil from the pan and let it keep baking to brown the cheese on top, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the potatoes rest 5-10 minutes before serving.
While the potatoes are cooking, in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, bring the apple juice, brown sugar, thyme, cracked garlic cloves and lemon slices up to a bubble. Continue to simmer until it has reduced to about 3/4 of a cup.
While the apple juice is cooking, season the chicken pieces with some salt and pepper and drizzle with a little EVOO. Transfer the chicken to a baking dish and pour the reduced apple juice over all the chicken. Transfer to the oven and roast for 35-40 minutes, until brown and a thermometer reads 165F. Serve the chicken with a scoop of the potatoes alongside.