Saturday, October 19, 2013

eating my share: meet in the middle

My husband and I have different eating styles. When I crave potatoes, I want them crispy and roasted or tossed with lots of other veggies in the style of a hash. When Shawn craves potatoes, he wants them creamy and rich, either mashed or layered into a gratin with cheese and cream. Luckily, we can agree on the goodness of french fries and the fact that Lili Marlene's makes the best in town.

This week we met in the middle for a rendition of a creamy potato gratin with the addition of butternut squash and leeks. I got to indulge my love of multiple veggies and Shawn got to enjoy some decadence. Layering vegetables in a baking dish with cream is delicious but this gratin also packed a savory punch thanks to the leeks, garlic and manchego cheese.

butternut squash, potato and leek gratin
1 tbs oil
1 tbs butter
4 small leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced into rounds
(save the dark green stalks in the freezer for making stock)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 butternut squash, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
3 tbs chives, chopped
2 cups manchego cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 400 and line a 9x13 baking dish with foil.

Heat oil and butter in a small skillet and toss in the leeks. Cook until softened and golden, 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and turn off the heat. Stir in minced garlic.

Combine the cream and milk in a bowl that has a pour spout. Layer half of the butternut squash slices in the bottom of the pan, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and 1 tbs of the chives. On top of this sprinkle half of the leek/garlic mixture and one third of the cheese. Pour one cup of the cream/milk over top. Start a new layer using all of the sliced potatoes. Repeat the layering process with leeks, chives, cheese and milk/cream. Your top layer will be the remainder of the squash slices. Repeat the layering process minus the leeks and be sure to make cheese the top layer.

Cover with foil and place in the middle of the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 30 minutes on the top rack until top of the gratin is golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

This would make a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving!

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