Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Pear & Sweet Potato Gratin
I thought of Easter when dreaming this recipe up. Potlucks too. It would be a great dish to make for a special dinner. My sister and I have been making a version of this recipe for years now. Laying in bed last night (one of the best places food ideas manifest for me) I wondered if pears would be a good substitute for apples that I regularly use. Seemed a bit more exotic somehow. I though pear might give it a wonderful sweetness and complexity that apples cannot. I sauteed the onions too, which I usually don't do, and topped with chevre before serving. The pears melted into flavor and the gouda added an earthiness I enjoyed. I drizzled a very small bit of truffle oil on top....and then promptly ate two plates.
To make this a quick recipe, I used my food processor to slice the sweet potatoes and onions, and then shred the cheese. I sliced the pears by hand, sauteed the onions and baked it in a square glass baking dish. You could add cinnamon or lemon zest to add another dimension of flavor as well. I let mine sit on the counter covered for 5 minutes after taking it out of the oven to reabsorb some of the juices. I mixed chevre with a small bit of milk to soften it up. This is optional. I know truffle is just so overdone. I am waiting for myself to be over the trend. So far no luck.
Pear and Sweet Potato Gratin:
makes a 9 inch square pan (6 servings)
1 very large or 2 small sweet potato (5 cups sliced)
2 med. onions (2 cups sauteed)
2 pears (I used bartlett pears) (about 2 cups)
1 clove garlic
1 tbls. olive oil
Gouda (2 heaping cups shredded)
1/2 cup chevre
truffle oil to drizzle
Slice sweet potatoes in food processor. Set aside in bowl. Slice onions, then set aside in bowl. Shred cheese, then set aside in bowl. Mince clove of garlic and add along with a pinch of salt into sweet potato bowl.
Add 1 tbls. olive oil to sautee pan and cook onions on high heat (but not so hot to burn onions) until edges get crispy and start to burn; about 7 minutes.
Slice pears thinly by hand, removing the centers, and set aside.
Pour about a tsp. of olive oil in bottom of baking pan, and then add 2 cups of sweet potatoes. (press down with fingers after each layer to fit it all in) Then add layer of pears, then onions and finally cheese. Repeat all the layers again, and press down with fingers one last time. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 375 for first 30 minutes, then turn oven down to 350 for another 15 minutes. Then remove tinfoil and cook another 10 minutes to brown the top. Remove and let sit 5-10 minutes with the tinfoil loosely covering gratin.
In a bowl, add a bit of milk to chevre and mix with spoon. Top each piece with a spoonful of chevre, then top with a small drizzle of truffle oil.
I did not add a lot of oil to this dish. The cheese adds enough oil I thought. I also used goat gouda because it was organic and somewhat local. I like the taste of goat gouda, but it does have a goat flavor if you are sensitive to that. Enjoy!