Sweet potato gratin close-up

Sweet potato gratin

It’s snowing outside. Snowing as in there’s a Winter Storm Warning in effect for the next 12 hours, complete with freezing rain, sleet, and winds averaging 35 mph.

(Just a note: On the National Weather Service’s Winter Storm Warning page, this is tacked onto the last bullet point after “road travel dangerous” and “power outages possible”: Be sure to secure lawn ornaments as well. Imagine I crash my car into a snowbank, but manage to pull myself free and stagger down the highway toward home, my toes frost-bitten. Once home, my significant other runs out, shouting, “The power is out. And our heat is electric! We must find somewhere warm to warm your frozen toes!” “Wait,” I cry. “Before we find shelter, I have to save Nibbles T. McGibbles.” Then I grab my lawn gnome, and carry him inside to safety.)

Moving on. After harrowing drives to work, the auto mechanic’s to get that pesky “maintenance required” light checked, then home, I was done. No more holding my breath through skids and deep snow drifts in my little Honda. What does this have to do with sweet potato gratin? Well, it’s too icky outside for delivery or take-out, we don’t have a full fridge, and over the last week I’ve had more meat than a tiger should consume in a month. Time for something vegetarian.

When I looked in my fridge, I saw there weren’t many veggies. Just onions and garlic. Then I looked in my fruit basket and saw 3 huge gnarled sweet potatoes, begging to be cut up and made palatable. I opened my Ottolenghi cookbook, turned to sweet potatoes in the index, and came upon this recipe.

Here’s what the recipe calls for. What I used is in italics.

6 medium sweet potatos used 3 large

5 tbsp coarsely chopped sage I didn’t have any, so I used a spice mix with sage in it

6 cloves of garlic, crushed I chopped them after crushing them

2 tsp coarse sea salt I’m getting low on sea salt, so I used regular table salt

½ tsp. black pepper

1 cup of heavy cream Didn’t have cream so used Greek yogurt mixed with whole milk

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash the potatoes and cut them into disks ¼ inch thick.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, sage, garlic, and pepper. Arrange the potatoes in a deep oven-safe dish (I used this one) by standing them up next to one another. They should fit tightly. Throw any remaining sage or garlic from the bowl over the potatoes. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and roast for 45 minutes. Remove the aluminum and pour the cream evenly over the potatoes. Roast, uncovered, for 25 more minutes. The cream should have thickened by now. Stick a sharp knife in different places in the dish to make sure the potatoes are cooked. They should be totally soft.
  3. Serve immediately, garnished with sage, or leave to cool down. In any case, bringing the potatoes to the table in the baking dish will make a strong impact.

Here are the potatoes pre-baking and sans cream:

Twp pictures of sweet potato gratin before baking

Here they are baked in their delectable cream sauce:

Finished sweet potato gratin

Close-up of sweet potato gratin

My overall impression:  It was good, but didn’t taste that different than roasted sweet potatoes. Next time I’m using real cream, actual sage, and would like to put something crunchy in like nuts.

Music listened to while cooking: Live’s Throwing Copper, though Spotify started mixing in their other albums. This led me to Live’s very devout-sounding songs from their album, Birds of Pray. I think I’ll stick to Mental Jewelry and Throwing Copper.

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