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Indian Summer Gratin with Butternut Squash, Potatoes, Corn, and Bacon

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Serves four as a main dish, six as a side.

  • by Susie Middleton from Fine Cooking
    Issue 106

You can make this a day ahead, if you like; the flavors will develop even more overnight. Reheat at 375°F, covered, for 20 minutes.

  • 1 Tbs. plus 1/2 tsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large or 2 medium leeks (white and light-green parts only), halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 1-3/4 to 2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 3 to 4 large ears)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 12 oz. peeled, seeded butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 8 oz. Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/3-inch dice (about 1-1/2 cups)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Rub a 2-quart shallow gratin dish with 1/2 tsp. of the butter.

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels. Reserve 2 Tbs. of the fat in the skillet; discard the remainder. When the bacon is cool, crumble or mince it.

In a small bowl, combine 1 Tbs. of the crumbled bacon with the breadcrumbs, 2 Tbs. of the Parmigiano, the olive oil, 1/2 tsp. of the thyme, and a large pinch of salt. Mix well.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. butter to the skillet with the bacon fat and melt over medium heat. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, until softened and just starting to turn golden, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and stir well. Add the corn, 1/4 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring, until the corn has lost its raw look and is slightly shrunken, 2 to 3 minutes. Cool slightly.

Combine the cream and chicken broth in a 2-cup liquid measure. Add the lemon zest, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Stir to mix well.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining bacon, the corn-leek mixture, the diced squash, potatoes, and remaining 1 tsp. thyme. Toss lightly to combine. Spread the mixture evenly in the gratin dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Parmigiano on top. Stir the cream mixture one more time and pour it over everything as evenly as possible. (Be sure to scrape out any seasonings left in the cup.) Press down on the vegetables with a spatula so that the liquid surrounds them and everything is evenly distributed. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over all.

Cover with foil and bake for 20?minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the crumb topping is deeply golden and the squash and potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. The liquid should have bubbled below the surface of the vegetables, leaving browned bits around the edge of the pan. Let cool for 20 to 25 minutes before serving.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 350; Fat (g): 23; Fat Calories (kcal): 200; Saturated Fat (g): 11; Protein (g): 8; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8; Carbohydrates (g): 32; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 390; Cholesterol (mg): 55; Fiber (g): 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This was very good. I will definitely make this again. Great flavor and presentation.

This was good, but not fantastic. I'm not sure if I would make it again based on the time it takes. I baked it for the time specified, but would say it needed another 5-10 minutes for the squash to get a little softer.

I made this, but added about 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese to the mix before adding the topping. It really was even better the next day, as mentioned previously. Absolutely delicious!!!

This was SOOOO good! I had some butternut squash that I had purchased at the farmer's market, and it worked well. I used baby gold potatoes and just cut them in half or quarters, depending on the size. I also used panko bread crumbs instead of fresh. This is a time consuming dish to make, but well worth it. As noted by another reviewer, this recipe can be easily adapted for vegetarians.

A perfect fall dish. Amazing flavor, beautiful presentation.

Delicious! I cut the recipe in half since I was making it just for two and now I wish I had made the whole recipe! I served it with a roast pork and it complemented the pork perfectly - didn't even need a sauce for the pork. Will definitely make this again.

This is wonderful. Make it! I have skipped the bacon and just sauteed in olive oil. If you use veggie broth it makes this dish vegetarian. I also use Panko breadcrumbs instead of the fresh and that's great too.

One word - fabulous! My husband hates squash and loved this dish. Flavors are great together. I transferred the leftovers into a smaller container this morning and just the scent of this dish made me want to eat it NOW! It really is a meal in itself - my husband and I split a apple/chicken sausage to go with this and it was not at all necessary. You won't be disappointed in this veggie recipe - and it's got bacon and cream; what's not to like?!

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