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Autumn Onion Gratin

1-1/2 sticks butter, divided

2 pounds onions, sliced

1 T dried thyme

4 t sea salt, divided

2/3 C water

2/3 C dry white wine

4 t sugar

2 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

2 pounds tart apples peeled, cored, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease glass or ceramic baking dish. Melt 6 T butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions, thyme, and 2 t salt; sauté about 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; sauté until onions are tender and begin to color, about 8 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Add remaining 6 T butter, 2/3 cup water, wine, and sugar to skillet; stir to combine. Bring to boil. Cool onion mixture to lukewarm.

Combine potatoes, apples, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and onion mixture in large bowl; toss gently to blend. Transfer to prepared baking dish, spreading evenly. Cover dish with parchment paper, then cover with foil, shiny side down. Bake gratin until potatoes are tender, about 55 minutes. Uncover and bake until top browns and juices bubble thickly, about 20 minutes longer. Let gratin stand 15 minutes before serving.

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