Spinach and Sweet Potato Gratin

When I saw this dish on Smitten Kitchen, it spoke to me. I love things like this – oven-baked, soul-comforting gratins are among my favourite foods. Especially if they include sweet potatoes!

I made this to bring to our Christmas Eve dinner, and I was extremely happy with how it turned out. I swapped the swiss chard in the original for spinach and used more Swiss cheese than Gruyere. I kept everything else the same as the original.

Everything went together really well. I loved the onions and spinach filling, the thick slabs of sweet potato and the rich, creamy béchamel. The veggies weren’t overly wet at all and absorbed the béchamel sauce well. The sweet potatoes ended up being the right texture, and the spinach tasted amazing alongside the potatoes. I loved the Swiss/Gruyere cheese mixture -the dish wasn’t overly cheesy, so you could still taste all the separate parts of the gratin.

It is a bit time-consuming to prepare, and uses a fair number of dishes. It’s well worth it in the end though! You’re left with a comforting sweet potato dish that can feed an army, and feed them well!

Spinach and Sweet Potato Gratin

Spinach and Sweet Potato Gratin
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 pounds frozen spinach, thawed and liquid pressed out
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups heavy cream or whole milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons flour
2 pounds medium red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces shredded Grueyere cheese
3 ounces shredded Swiss cheese

1. Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a wide 8-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add spinach, pinch of nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender but not browned, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper then transfer greens to a colander to drain well and press out liquid with back of a large spoon.

2. Combine cream or milk and garlic in small saucepan; bring to simmer; keep warm. Melt two tablespoons butter in a medium heavy saucepan over moderate heat and stir in flour. Cook roux, whisking, one minute, then slowly whisk in warm cream/milk and boil, whisking, one minute. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

3. Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter deep 9×13 baking dish. Spread half of sweet potatoes in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, a quarter of the herbs and a 1/4 cup of the cheese. Distribute half of the greens mixture over the cheese, then sprinkle salt, pepper, a quarter of the herbs and 1/4 cup of the cheese over it. Pour half of bechamel sauce over the first two layers then continue with the remaining sweet potatoes, more salt, pepper, herbs and cheese and then the remaining greens, salt, pepper and herbs. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the gratin, pressing the vegetables slightly to ensure that they are as submerged as possible. Sprinkle with the last 1/4 cup of cheese.

4. Bake gratin for about 1 hour until golden and bubbly, and most of the liquid is absorbed. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Spinach and Sweet Potato Gratin

If you like this, you might also like:

Crepes Terrine with Spinach, Mushroom, and Smoked Turkey
Asparagus and Mushroom Bread Pudding
Butternut Squash and Pecan Lasagne

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