Archive for March 12th, 2009

Sweet Potato Gratin

March 12, 2009

sweet-potato-gratinGrandma Chapman mashed sweet potatoes with cinnamon, butter and milk then topped the dish with marshmellows before baking.  Mom just opened a can, sprinkled brown sugar on them and baked marshmellows on the top.  Thanksgiving just wasn’t complete without sweet potatoes but boy they were neglected the rest of the year.  Thank goodness we have evolved!

If you love sweet potatoes you’ll love this recipe.  I can eat sweet potatoes right out of the oven with just butter and S&P but this gratin is even more savory and sumptuous with fresh herbs and cream.  Serve it with any roasted meat.  With all the vitamin A and C ingested you’ll see right past the calories.

2 lb of fresh sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin

1-1/2 cups of whipping cream

1 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves chopped fine

1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves chopped fine

2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., line a 9″ X 11″ rectangular baking pan with parchment paper, and in a small bowl mix together the rosemary, thyme, pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Use a mandolin or slicer blade on a food processor to slice sweet potatoes 1/8″ thick. 

Arrange a single layer of potato slices on the bottom of the pan, over-lapping each row slightly.  Pour 1/2 cup of whipping cream over the layer, sprinkle 1/3 of the herb mix over the cream.  Repeat layers, ending with the cream and the herb mix.  Cover pan with foil or glass lid if using pyrex and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and bake additional 15 minutes or until top is nicely browned.  Remove from oven and let stand for 20 minutes before slicing into squares.

  1. Variation:  Add 2 scallions, sliced thinly, tops and bottoms both, to the herb mix.
  2. Variation:  Top each layer of potatoes with fresh spinach before applying the cream and herb mix.
  3. Variation:  Top each layer of potatoes with crisp bacon bits or slices of proscuitto.
  4. Variation:  Crumble 1 Tbsp of feta or blue cheese over each layer.

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup

March 12, 2009

sweet-potatoThis soup is an improvised version of my pumpkin curry soup with the addition of coconut milk.   A couple of years ago I was making pumpkin soup and discovered I had no carrots, but I did have a couple of sweet potatoes.  Low and behold, with the added sweet potatoes the color was richer, the sweetness was  sweeter and the texture was smoother without having to add heavy cream.  Everyone remarked on the enhanced flavor and texture.   In fact,  it is now “lip smackin” comfort food in our house.   It’s easy to make so do give it a try.

An electric blending wand is handy for pureeing soups right in the stock pot and eliminates having to batch-puree in a blender or food processor. 

4 fresh sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 stock of celery, diced

1 onion, diced

8 cups chicken stock

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

2 chipolte chiles, minced

1 tsp thyme leaves

1 tsp. curry powder

1 can coconut milk (unsweetened)

Place sweet potatoes, celery, onion, and chicken stock in a stock pot and bring to a boil.  Cook until potatoes are tender, remove veggies and puree.  Return veggies to stock pot and add chiles, curry powder, thyme, and coconut milk.  Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes more.  Adjust seasonings to taste and serve with a dollop of sour cream, chopped chives, or minced parsley for a vegan version.   Crisp bacon bits may be added for carnivores.

Makes 8 servings.  Serve with a pear and arugula salad and corn bread for a quick lunch or supper.