Two Potato Gratin with Fried Sage and Roasted Hatch Chiles
By Heidi Allison
This decadent side will steal center stage on any holiday table. An
homage to the classic French dish, Gratin Dauphinois (Potatoes au Gratin) which
is traditionally made with thinly- sliced potatoes layered with cream and
cheese, then baked in a shallow buttered dish, this cutting-edge
rendition uses two types of tubers--white bakers and orange sweet potatoes,
creating a richer, more complex flavor profile in the finished
The secret to the success of this recipe is not using the classic cream sauce, but, a lightly cooked roux, which keeps the gratin from getting “soggy”. It’s crucial that you cook the roux—butter, flour and milk paste—just to the point of forming a ball and pulling away from the sides of the pot. Done correctly, the roux should be the color of cream and the consistency of peanut butter. It’s also vital to par-cook the potatoes till barely done before layering into the dish, or you won’t get the requisite soft texture this dish requires.
Seasoning should be kept light to complement the inherent sweetness of the potatoes. Fried Sage
and roasted Hatch Chiles
add depth and a touch of heat—just enough to grab your palate’s attention. This dish can be served warm or room temperature and makes a great breakfast the following morning… if there are any leftovers!
2 Organic Baking Potatoes
1 Organic Sweet Potato
1 stick Unsalted Butter, room temperature
¾ cup AP Flour
½ cup Heavy Cream, room temperature
1 cup 2% Milk, room temperature
1 Garlic Clove
Pinch of freshly grated Nutmeg
leaves, fried until crisp and lightly browned
1 roasted Hatch Chiles
, peeled and cut into ¼ inch strips
2 cups grated Gruyere Cheese
1 cup grated Fontina Cheese
Fill two large bowls with 5 cups of cold water. Peel white baking potatoes and orange sweet potatoes. Using a mandoline, slice the baking potatoes into one bowl and set aside. Slice the sweet potatoes into the other bowl and set aside.
Place the sliced baking potatoes with water into an 8-quart pot, and the sliced sweet potatoes into a 5-quart pot. Cover both pots and bring to a boil on medium heat. Cook the baking potatoes for about 4 minutes or until just barely cooked (eat several slices to test). Drain and set aside.
Cook sweet potatoes about 1-2 minutes more – they should be barely cooked but a bit soft. Drain and allow to air dry while you make the roux.
In a heavy-bottomed 3-quart cast iron and enamel saucepan, melt ¾ stick of butter on medium heat till it bubbles but does not change color. Using a microplane, grate garlic into butter till it foams. Off heat, add cream, milk, and nutmeg, whisking vigorously until blended into a thick paste. Return to heat and continue whisking until roux pulls away from sides of pot. Remove from heat and whisk about 30 seconds more and set aside.
Butter the 3-inch deep and 10-inch wide, porcelain gratin pan with remaining ¼ stick of butter. Spread ⅓ of the roux in a thin layer over butter in bottom of pan.
Layer white potatoes, half of crumbled fried sage leaves and half of roasted Hatch chile over roux. Sprinkle half of grated cheeses over white potato.
Layer sweet potatoes over cheese. Drop 4-5 tablespoons of roux over sweet potatoes (left, middle and right of dish) and spread in a thin layer.
Crumble remaining fried sage and cheeses over sweet potatoes.
Place in top third of oven and bake for 35 minutes, Remove and finish in middle of oven for 10 minutes more or until bubbly and lightly browned. Blot off any oil that rises to top with a paper towel.
Serve warm or room temperature.