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Spiced Sweet Potato Gratin

Servings: 6 to 8

With their lovely orange color and gentle sweetness, sweet potatoes are an appealing gratin ingredient. Adding a few Middle Eastern spices and citrus zest is a fragrant, exotic touch.


  • 1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 1-1/8 oz. (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 4 cardamom pods, cracked, seeds removed and finely ground, or 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. Aleppo pepper
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil; more as needed
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1-1/4 cups)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 lb. sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pistachios, plus 3 Tbs. coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup plain panko or dry breadcrumbs

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 410
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 270
  • Fat (g): 30
  • Saturated Fat (g): 14
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11
  • Cholesterol (mg): 65
  • Sodium (mg): 310
  • Carbohydrates (g): 33
  • Fiber (g): 5
  • Sugar (g): 10
  • Protein (g): 6


  • Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 3-qt. gratin dish with 1 Tbs. of the butter.
  • Melt the remaining 2 Tbs. butter in a heavy-based medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, and stir well to form a paste. Cook gently while stirring, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and Aleppo pepper. Gradually add the broth a little at a time, whisking well between each addition to break up any lumps. Once all the broth has been incorporated, increase the heat to medium, and cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and then add the nutmeg. Stir in the cream, cilantro, and orange zest. Remove from the heat and cover.
  • In a medium skillet, heat 1 Tbs. of the oil over low heat, and cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Set aside.
  • Peel the sweet potatoes. Using a sharp knife or mandoline, slice the sweet potatoes crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick rounds.
  • Layer the sweet potato slices with the onion mixture in the prepared dish, seasoning each layer with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and gently pressing down on the potatoes to ensure even layers. You should end up with about 8 layers.
  • Uncover, and gradually bring the spiced sauce to a boil over low heat, stirring occasionally. Pour the sauce over the sweet potatoes, making sure that the potatoes are evenly covered and pushing on the slices gently with a wooden spoon to distribute the sauce.
  • Sprinkle the nuts and panko over the potatoes in an even layer. Drizzle with the remaining 2 Tbs. oil. Place the gratin dish on a large rimmed baking sheet, and cover the dish with a sheet of oiled foil. Bake for 45 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake for an additional 30 minutes until the top is golden-brown.
  • Let the gratin rest for at least 20 minutes, and then slice and serve.


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