The following side dish, courtesy of Southern Living (Nov. 2012), will be gracing our Thanksgiving table this year. Though it’s not the usual quick-n-easy recipe I prefer, it sounds well worth the extra effort. While I’ll still serve some mashed potatoes and gravy for traditional diehards, like my Dad, I can’t wait to taste this casserole…
Recipe of the Week: Butternut Squash and Potato Gratin
1 (3 lb.) butternut squash
1 (3 lb.) spaghetti squash
2 tbs. butter, melted
1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar, divided
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 c. whipping cream
5 large Yukon gold potatoes (about 2-1/2 lbs.)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
4 c. (16 oz.) reshly shredded fontina or gouda cheese
fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish
Directions: preheat oven to 450F.
1. Cut butternut and spaghetti squashes in half lengthwise; remove and discard seeds. Place squash, cut sides up, in lightly greased 17″ x 12″ jellyroll pan. Drizzle with butter, and sprinkly with 1/2 c. brown sugar. Bake 40 minutes or until tender. Cool 20 minutes.
2. With a fork, scrape inside of spaghetti squash to remove spaghetti-like strands, and place in a large bowl. Scoop pulp from butternut squash; coarsely chop pulp, and toss with spaghetti squash.
3. Stir together cinnamon, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 c. brown sugar.
4. Cook cream in a heavy nonaluminum saucepan over med. heat, stirring often, 5 minutes or just until it begins to steam (do not boil); remove from heat.
5. Using a sharp knife, cut potatoes into 1/8″ thick slices for each layer (if you cut them all at once, they could turn brown/oxidize). Arrange thin layer on bottom of a buttered 13″ x 9″ baking dish. Spoon 1/3 of squash mixture (about 1/4″ thick) over potatoes; sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1 c. cheese, and 1/4 c. hot cream. Repeat two more times, sprinkling one-third of sugar mixture over each of second and third squash layers. (Do not sprinkle sugar mixture over first squash layer.) Top with remaining sliced potatoes, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Gently press layers down with back of spoon. Sprinkle top with remaining 1 c. cheese and 3/4 c. hot cream; sprinkle with remaining brown sugar mixture.
6. Place baking dish on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Bake, covered with foil, for one hour; uncover and bake 25 minutes more or until golden brown and potatoes are tender. Cool for 20 minutes on wire rack before serving. Garnish, if desired.
Note: I don’t know why you couldn’t slice all the potatoes at once and put them in some icy water while you’re waiting to layer them? That should surely keep the oxidation at bay.
Thought of the Week: Since it’s November, I’m expecting cold weather to begin any day now. In anticipation, Danny put up the large Coleman tent in back as a shelter for all 43 of my potted plants, including ferns, cacti, and bougainvilleas. Unless we have a freeze lasting more than two days, they should be safe until spring returns. This is not just a hint to Mother Nature that I’m ready for the worst she can blow our way, but a plea that she lower temperatures – ASAP! I’m sick of the heat and humidity; it’s still in the 80s here. This is North America, not the equator!