A gratin is a dish typically prepared using ingredients of thinly sliced and layered potatoes and cream cooked in a buttered dish. Well….yum! This preparation method originated in France (of course); the name gratin dauphinois refers to the Dauphiné region of France, where this method of preparing potatoes is a specialty (according to Wikipedia). Here’s another blog post where I’m going to bastardize the French method, yet call it a gratin anyway. Heresy, I know… This recipe is inspired by the flavors of African sweet potato soup, with hints of nut butter, lime and spicy cayenne pepper, and it has a touch of Asian/Indian flavors with the sweet curry and coconut milk.
I have been wanting to make a potato gratin for a while, but I hadn’t really considered using sweet potatoes until recently. If you don’t have a mandoline (or have lost a finger tip in the past to one and hesitate to try again), the potatoes could be cut into chunks and be cooked together on the stove top with the other ingredients, then blended into a killer soup! Also, this is one of the few entries here on she cooks…he cleans that could qualify as vegan!
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1/2 sweet onion
- oil of choice for coating baking dish (I used butter)
- 1 can coconut milk, shaken well to mix
- 2 1/2 teaspoons sweet curry powder (I used The Spice House Sweet Curry Powder)
- 3 tablespoons almond butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut butter
- 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- 2 tablespoons honey (or sweetening of choice)
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
- juice of 1 lime
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- chicken or vegetable broth, as needed to adjust thickness and volume
Preheat oven to 350F. Peel potatoes. Using a mandoline slicer (or patience and a sharp knife), slice the potatoes and the 1/2 onion into thin slices.
Grease up a gratin dish or medium sized baking dish. Layer the potatoes and onions together in the dish, overlapping slightly while making concentric circles.
Heat the coconut milk over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. (Do not allow to it to boil.) Whisk in the curry powder, almond butter, coconut butter, 5-spice powder, cayenne pepper, honey, fish sauce, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add approximately 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth (to reduce thickness and give the sauce enough volume to cover potatoes in baking dish).
Pour the coconut milk mixture over the potatoes. (If it is looking “short”, add a little more broth to the mixture still in the saucepan to compensate.)
Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, and bake for 30-40 additional minutes, or until potatoes are tender and the gratin is bubbling and starting to lightly brown on top. Serve hot.
As we say “Goodnight, Irene…” (that could be a song! ) it wouldn’t be proper to not mention it as the soundtrack, don’t ya think? First is the 1979 Neil Young masterpiece Live Rust with the awesome “Like a Hurricane”.
Did you say “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”? Thought you did, with Bob Dylan’s Freewheelin Bob Dylan (Reis). Landmark record, and boy, did a hard rain ever fall!