Potato and Fennel Gratin

-In a small saucepan combine the following:

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

4 cloves chopped garlic

2 TBS finely chopped fennel fronds

1 bay leaf

-Bring to a boil and then remove from heat and set aside to infuse.  

-Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  

-Slice 1.5# of potatoes into 1/8 inch thick slices. 

-Chop up 1-2 fennel bulbs.

-Then chop about 4 oz. (1 cup) thinly sliced ham (optional).

To assemble: 

-In a large 2-qt. gratin dish or heavy baking dish spread about 1/3 of the potato slices.   

-Season with a light sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg and some sea salt and pepper.

-Then overtop of the potatoes, layer half of the fennel and half of the ham.

-Top with another 1/3 of the potatoes and some more salt, pepper and nutmeg.

-Then spread the other half of the fennel and the other half of the ham.  

-Top with the remaining potatoes and more salt, pepper and nutmeg.

-Put the gratin on a baking sheet to catch drips and pour the cream mixture over top, discarding the bay leaf.

-Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

-Remove the foil sprinkle the gratin with 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese and baste with the liquid in the dish until the potatoes are very tender

and the top is brown, another 30-45 minutes. 

-Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.