Thursday, November 12, 2015

Sweet Potato Gratin

 One of my all time very most favorite dishes in the whole wide world is Sweet Potato Casserole. It's one of the top 5 reasons I look forward to Thanksgiving every year! I mean, come on, with all the butter and brown sugar, what's not to love, right? But let's think about sweet potatoes for a minute..
Do they really need to be covered with sugar ALL the time? We're so used to doing sweet potato recipes that are sweet enough to be a dessert... what if we just do a savory dish instead? I say let's try treating sweet potatoes just like a regular potato and see what happens. So that's exactly what I did!
 This recipe was adapted from a recipe called Four Ingredient Potatoes Au Gratin from a website called Always Order Dessert. I was looking for a fabulous gratin recipe that I could tweak a little for my sweet potatoes and this was the one that seemed like the perfect fit. Very often, a potato gratin will have some sort of cheese in the recipe, but for this particular dinner, I was cooking for someone who doesn't like cheese (I know, I know, it makes no sense to me either). This was definitely the right recipe! It turned out great!!! The sweetness from the potatoes went so perfectly with the garlic, and the cream just made everything rich and comforting. And actually, if you're all about the cheese like I am, I bet you could add a little grated cheese to the top with the bread crumbs for a little extra salty hit. Doesn't that sound amazing?? I'm definitely gonna be making this one again!!

3 sweet potatoes, peeled
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons butter, sliced thinly plus more for greasing pan
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
panko bread crumbs (or any that you prefer)

Butter an 8" round baking dish all along the bottom and sides. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Set your mandoline to the thinnest level possible and slice your potatoes into paper-thin slices. Layer the potato slices with just a light overlap all the way around your baking dish, covering the bottom completely. Scatter with a bit of minced garlic and a few slices of butter. Season with salt and pepper, then repeat with another layer of potato slices, more butter and garlic, S&P. Continue to repeat the layers until you use up all the potatoes. Top with a few final slices of butter and a generous sprinkle of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pour the cream over the dish, making sure it distributes evenly. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake for 40 minutes, then increase the temperature to 400 for an additional 10 minutes or until the top of the dish is golden and the potatoes are crisp at the edges. Remove from the oven and let sit for a good 10-15 minutes before serving.

I have to be completely honest. When I made this, I didn't measure a thing. I just sliced up a bunch of potatoes, chopped up the garlic, layered everything until my pan was completely filled and then poured cream over everything. I was using a 9x13 pan, and I figured it wouldn't make any difference. It worked perfectly!
 Btw, be sure to season everything well. I was afraid of adding salt and pepper to every layer, and I wound up needing to add salt at the end.
Also, I think I may add caramelized onions to each layer the next time I make this... just sayin!

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