This weekend, I finally got back into the kitchen… I’m not just talking about reheating soup and tossing salads (which is what I had been doing for most of last week). I did some serious cooking and baking!
It all started on Friday with a lack of inspiration for dinner. I had no idea what I wanted to make, and frankly, I didn’t really feel like cooking at all. I hadn’t really gotten back into the kitchen, and I was finding the whole transition somewhat difficult. Instead, I called our favorite restaurant to see if we could squeeze in a reservation, but they were booked for the night (no big surprise, but it was worth a try). I had to make dinner, and it was too late to go to the store for groceries, so I had to use what I had on hand – sweet potatoes.
I could have made a dozen things with the sweet potatoes, but I quickly became fixated on scalloped sweet potatoes au gratin – not the simplest choice considering I was in no mood to cook. I pulled out the mandolin, whipped up a sauce, and I went to work on my sweet potatoes. I was back in the kitchen… And loving it!
These potatoes are somewhat rich, though I did lighten things up by using fat free evaporated milk for the sauce instead of cream. I think they make a great meatless meal served with a green salad, but they’d also be perfect as a side dish, too!
Scalloped Sweet Potatoes Au Gratin
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 leek, cleaned and chopped
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 – 12 ounce can fat free evaporated milk
- Freshly ground nutmeg
- Kosher salt
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
Melt two tablespoons of butter in a small sauce pan. Add the chopped leek and saute in the butter until tender and translucent. Whisk in the flour and cook for a few minutes until golden in color. Gradually whisk in the evaporated milk, and bring the mixture to a bubble. Cook for a minute until the sauce thickens, and then remove from the heat.
Grate some nutmeg into the sauce, and season to taste with the Kosher salt.
Meanwhile, spread a single layer of potatoes in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spread a small amount of sauce on top of the potatoes, and sprinkle with cheese. Repeat layers of potatoes, sauce, and cheese, reserving extra sauce and cheese for the top layer.
Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a small microwaveable dish. Stir in the bread crumbs and combine until evenly moistened. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of the sauce and cheese on the last layer. Bake covered for 35 minutes, and then uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes until golden and bubbly on top.
Let the casserole cool for at least 15 minutes prior to serving.