November 13, 2012

Sweet Potato Gratin


This recipe for Sweet Potato Gratin will be a perfect dish to make and share for the holidays. Unlike those oozing with heavy cream and cheese, this gratin is rich and creamy without being cloying. As it is made with only plant-based ingredients, it is lower in fat and considerably better for you as well. Being part of the orange fleshed vegetable group, Sweet potatoes are extremely nutritious. They are an excellent source of fiber, and the anti-oxidant vitamins A and C as well as alpha-carotene and beta-carotene.

This is an ideal dish to prepare for entertaining during the holidays or to bring along as a contribution when you are a guest at a celebration outside of your home as it can be easily prepared in advance, travels well, and will serve several people.

Sweet Potato Gratin
Serves 8-12
For all ingredients, please consider using those that are organic.
2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and thinly sliced (or combination of yams with yukon gold yellow fleshed potatoes, about 2:1)
6 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
  sea salt
  freshly ground black pepper
3/4-1 cup unsweetened coconut or soy milk
1/2 cup pistachio nuts, ground
* If you have a nut allergy or are conscious of your fat intake, feel free to use whole wheat bread crumbs that have been tossed in little olive oil instead of the nuts.
Peel the potatoes with a vegetable peeler. Use a sharp knife, a japanese mandolin, or a food processor fitted with a thin slicing blade to slice the potatoes into rounds.
Use a casserole dish or baking dish of any shape and roughly 8 x 11 inches in size. Drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil in the bottom of the dish and use a brush or your fingers to spread it evenly over the surface.
Begin arranging a layer of the potato slices over the bottom of the dish, overlapping the slices so it is substantial. There is no need to worry about making them attractive until you get to the top layer. Use the bits and pieces of the the slices on the lower layers as your main concern is to keep them relatively even.
After you have arranged a complete layer, drizzle with another teaspoon or so of olive oil, sprinkle on a pinch of salt, pepper, and a sprig or 2 of fresh thyme leaves.
Continue and repeat for another 2-3 layers. Be sure to save some consistent sized slices for the final layer.
When you get to the remaining slices and final layer, arrange in concentric overlapping circles from the outside to the center of the dish if using a round or oval dish, or in overlapping rows if using a square or rectangular dish.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and remaining fresh thyme leaves. Drizzle with another 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and pour the coconut cream evenly over the top.
Cover and wrap the gratin with aluminum foil, press the top down with your hands to secure the potatoes into place, and refrigerate until ready to bake. This can be done up to a day ahead.
Heat the oven to 425 F.
Leave the gratin completely covered in the foil and bake for about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the chopped pistachio nuts over the top. Return the gratin to the oven and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until a knife cuts through the center without any resistance and the top begins to caramelize. It will get a bit crisp on the surface as you are not using much oil or liquid. Sweet potatoes are rather moist and this is part of the reason you are baking it covered for the majority of the time. It will be delicious.
Once removed from the oven, allow the dish to cool for about 10 minutes before cutting into it.
If you are short on oven space and want to bake it ahead of time, it will hold up nicely at room temperature for up to a few hours. Slice it when cool and warm in the oven just before serving.









Categories: Fall & Winter, Vegetables

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