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Sweet Potato & Leek Gratin

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Serves six.

If you want to prepare the gratin a day ahead, reheat it covered in a 300°F oven until bubbling around the edges and warmed through.

  • 2 large leeks (1 lb. total), trimmed, halved lengthwise, sliced 1/4 inch thick crosswise, swished and soaked in enough cold water to cover
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter; more for the pan
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 6 oz. pancetta or country ham, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (1 lb. total), peeled (see Sweet potatoes vs. yams)
  • 3 medium Idaho potatoes (1-1/4 lb. total), peeled

Lift the leeks gently from their soaking water so that any grit stays behind. Drain them in a colander. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the pancetta or ham and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 9 min. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. Add the leeks and garlic to the pan, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Sweat the leeks and garlic, cooking slowly and stirring occasionally, until the leeks are softened, about 5 min. (Don't let the leeks or garlic brown.) Add the cream, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 5 min. Stir in the pancetta or ham, the thyme, and the salt; add pepper to taste. Set aside.

Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 2-qt. casserole dish. Slice the sweet potatoes between 1/4 and 1/8 inch thick. Repeat with the Idaho potatoes. Arrange one overlapping layer of Idaho slices on the bottom of the casserole. Season lightly with salt and pepper; spoon 2 Tbs. of the leek cream evenly over the potatoes. Add a layer of sweet potato slices, season lightly with salt and pepper, and spoon on another 2 Tbs. of the leek cream. Repeat with the remaining potatoes until all are used. With your hands or a rubber spatula, press down firmly on the potatoes and drizzle the remaining leek cream over them. Bake until the gratin is golden on top, 50 to 60 min. Let rest in a warm place for 15 min. Cut into squares and serve.

Sweet Potato & Leek Gratin Recipe
For this gratin, arrange the slices so they overlap slightly.
Sweet Potato & Leek Gratin Recipe
Before you drizzle on the last of the leek cream, press down to compact the layers of potatoes.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on six servings; Calories (kcal): 600; Fat (g): 40; Fat Calories (kcal): 360; Saturated Fat (g): 22; Protein (g): 12; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 14; Carbohydrates (g): 52; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 800; Cholesterol (mg): 135; Fiber (g): 5;

Photo: Amy Albert

I have been making this since it was first published and it is always a hit with everyone. I did lighten it using a mix of half and half and milk - prob not much but it made me feel better.

Rich and tasty, a favorite for potlucks. I use non-fat evaporated milk instead of full cream with good result. The pancetta adds a nice salty balance to the richness of the dish.

Unbelievably good and very very rich. Practice portion control on this one: Cut it into two inch squares. It's likely still 100000 calories but oh, is it good!

I have made this for years, since it first came out, for special occasion dinners. I make it exactly as written and it always gets HUGE rave reviews. I've made it as much as 3 days ahead & just cooked it before dinner, also I've made just the cream sauce days ahead and finished it on the day of the dinner, and it's always PERFECT.

This is not a dish for someone who is concerned about calories or fat but it is delicious.

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