Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spicy Sweet Potato Gratin


I cannot believe that I first saw a version of this recipe back in 1994. Where does the time go? Gourmet magazine posted their adaptation of a recipe first created at the New York outpost of the Mesa Grill. (Sadly, Bobby Flay's restaurant closed in 2013 after 22 years.) I took the Gourmet version and make a few tweaks too but...truly...all the credit should go to Bobby Flay. Bobby's dish included chipotle and heavy cream. Gourmet lightened it up by eliminating the cream and using enchilada sauce. I mirrored the enchilada shortcut.


These sweet potatoes are delicious, effortless and can be served at a casual dinner, brought to a potluck or prepared for a fancy party. Offered as part of a Mexican food feast, or alongside roasted chicken, beef or pork, this dish is extremely versatile. I have included the sweet potatoes as part of a brunch buffet with eggs, beans, salad and tortillas and have used the dish as the "potatoes" at Thanksgiving. Give them a try...they are so very good.


Spicy Sweet Potato Gratin
(serves 6)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced white onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 10 oz can enchilada sauce
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes
3/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 2.2 quart rimmed baking dish and set aside.

Warm olive oil in medium skillet and add onion. Saute for 2-3 minutes until just beginning to soften. Add garlic and saute an additional minute. Add enchilada sauce and water, stir to combine, and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Cut sweet potatoes lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices. Cut large pieces (more than 2 1/2 inches) in half. 

Layer 1/3 of potatoes in bottom of prepared pan with edges overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat steps 2 additional times but do not add last 1/3 of cheese to top.  Pour sauce over top of potatoes ensuring all are coated and sauce seeps into layers. Sprinkle pine nuts over top of potatoes and remaining cheese over nuts.

Set pan of potatoes on large rimmed baking sheet (larger than potato pan) to catch any drips. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate pan and continue baking another 30-45 minutes, or until potatoes are very tender when pierced with a knife and cheese is bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.



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