Here comes another one! Can you believe I did it- two meatless meals in a row... a wonder to behold. :) I've been finding it difficult to leave dairy by the wayside-- I can totally amp up the veggies as long as I have enough cream or cheese to hide them in. :) I'll keep hunting though.
This was actually quite delicious, all-be-it a bit out of season. We didn't even notice that the meat was missing-- I was busy noticing the spread of flavors. It's surprising how far a bit of pepper and salt can go. It was complete comfort without the heaviness. Great veggie dish!
Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Gratin with Manchego Cheese (pinchmysalt.com)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 pound peeled butternut squash, quartered lengthwise*
1 pound peeled and trimmed sweet potatoes**
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 cups shredded Manchego cheese (or Gruyère) (When I was at the grocery store gazing at the cheeses, I could not for the life of me remember what cheese I needed, but I knew it started with an "M". I ended up going with "Muenster", but was delicious, but probably quite different. I will be the first to admit I don't know my cheeses... and this was just proof. I'm ashamed. :)
1. Get Ready: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small pot bring cream and garlic just to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside. Butter a 9″x13″ shallow casserole dish or gratin dish of similar size and set aside.
2. Prepare the Ingredients: thinly slice the squash and sweet potatoes (no more than 1/8 inch thick) and keep them separate from one another. Measure out chopped thyme, salt, pepper, and shredded cheese and have them handy. Stir the cooling cream to help prevent skin from forming.
3. Build the Gratin: In the buttered casserole dish, spread half of the sliced butternut squash out in a single overlapping layer. Sprinkle the squash with 1/3 of the salt, pepper, and thyme and then about 1/2 cup of the grated cheese. Using half of the sliced sweet potatoes, build a new overlapping layer. Again sprinkle with 1/3 of the seasonings and 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Using the remaining squash, make another layer and sprinkle the last third of the seasonings and another 1/2 cup of cheese (you should have about 1/2 cup cheese remaining). Use the last of the sweet potatoes to make one final layer on top. Stir the garlic cream mixture then pour it evenly over the top of the gratin, being sure to cover the top layer of sweet potatoes. Shake the dish gently to distribute the cream. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.
4. Bake the Gratin: Cover the dish with foil and bake in the middle of a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, move the gratin to the top 1/3 of the oven and bake, uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes or until the top is nicely browned and the vegetables are tender when pierced with a sharp knife. You may also place it under the broiler for a few minutes if you wish the top to be a deeper brown (but watch it closely!). Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes before slicing.
Yield: 12 servings