Sweet Potato and Root Vegetable Gratin
|Cookbook Title: Taste Pure and Simple|
Although some people believe that gratins require butter, milk, cream, or cheese for texture and moisture, it just isnt so. This one is made only of vegetables, moistened with just a little olive oil.
1 Tbls. extra-virgin olive oil
One large rutabaga (about 1 pound) peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled
1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup shredded Vidalia onions
1 pound large parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced
1 Tbls. minced fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, thyme, chives and/or chervil
1 cup sweet potato sauce
Sweet potato sauce
3 ½ cups sweet potato juice
2 Tbls. sliced fresh ginger
1 Thai chili, seeded and minced
Fresh lemon juice, coarse salt, and Freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350F. Rub an 8 ½ by 12-inch casserole with olive oil.
Overlap half the rutabaga slices on the bottom of the casserole, making sure the slices do not overlap by more than ½ inch. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
Thinly slice 1 of the russet potatoes lengthwise and shingle the slices over the rutabaga. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Slice the potatoes as you use them to prevent them from discoloring and so that they retain their starch and nutrients.
Overlap the sweet potato slices over the russet potato. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread about 1/3 cup of the onions over the sweet potato slices, then overlap the parsnips over theses.
Repeat the process, ending with sweet potato slices. Spray lightly with a little vegetable oil cooking spray, season with salt and pepper, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.
Remove the casserole from the oven and uncover. Spray lightly with a little more oil. Sprinkle with the minced herbs. Return, uncovered, to the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top layer is nicely browned. Remove from the oven. Let set for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Heat the sauce gently and serve the gratin with a little sauce drizzled over each serving.
To make the sauce: Let the sweet potato juice stand for at least 4 hours or up to 6 hours at room temperature. This will allow much of the potato starch in the juice to settle.
Pour the juice through a fine-mesh sieve into a wide, shallow pan, being careful to leave the settled starch behind. Place the juice over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until reduced to about 1 cup. During the first 5 or 10 minutes of cooking, additional potato starch will rise to the surface. Skim it off and discard. If using a relatively deep pan, this reduction could take up to 1 hour.
Remove from the heat and stir in the ginger and chili. Stir until the sauce tastes spicy enough, then strain immediately through a fine-mesh sieve. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Copyright © 2003 by Michel Nischan
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