Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sweet Potato Goodness

THIS was awesome.  

I know this isn't a freezer meal, or a meal, but I had to share it, anyway.  We had a fantastic Thanksgiving meal with our family last week, and this recipe from the Journal Sentinel a few years ago was one of the best sides we've ever had.  I've never been a fan of the whole marshmallow-topped sweet potato thing, but THIS is right up my alley - totally replaced the mashed potatoes and gravy on my plate this year (Although we had those, too.  And stuffing. It was a carb-tastic menu).

I know it LOOKS a little fussy, recipe-wise, but it's not that bad, and again, it is REALLY GOOD.  I am GUESSING you could freeze it, but not recommending it.  And seriously, you don't want to wait long to eat it, anyway.  What are your favorite sides for Thanksgiving, or any other special meal? 

Dauphinoise Sweet Potatoes with Sage & Asiago Breadcrumbs
Makes about 10 servings

2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
1 large onion, finely julienned
1 cup whipping cream (I think 1/2 & 1/2 works fine - a little thinner, but saves calories)
1½ tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
5 to 6 large sweet potatoes
½ cup grape seed oil
½ cup fresh sage leaves, plus more for garnish, if desired (see note) (stems removed)
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1½ cups shredded Asiago cheese (divided)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil in heavy-bottom sauté pan over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onion and stir to coat with oil. Reduce heat to medium-low and caramelize onions until golden brown, stirring frequently, about 10 to 15 minutes; set aside. In medium saucepan, bring cream, minced garlic, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg to a boil and set aside. Peel and slice sweet potatoes thin and place in water to prevent browning. (Use a food processor with a slicer attachment or mandolin to make slices consistent in size.) 

Place grape seed oil and sage leaves in food processor; process until well blended. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer. (This will make about ½ cup of sage oil.)  Mix sage oil with breadcrumbs, then mix in ½ cup of Asiago. Butter bottom and sides of 8-by-8-inch baking dish (or a dish of similar size). Drain sweet potatoes. Place one-fifth of the sweet potato slices in bottom of baking dish. Top with a layer of half the onions. Add another layer of sweet potatoes, then ½ cup of remaining Asiago cheese. Add another layer of sweet potatoes, then remaining onions. Add another layer of sweet potatoes, then remaining ½ cup Asiago and final layer of sweet potatoes. Evenly disperse cream mixture on top of sweet potatoes.  Top with breadcrumb mixture. Cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven about 1 hour, or until potatoes are tender.

Note: For garnish if desired, fry about 1 cup sage leaves in deep pot over medium heat in 3 cups canola oil (heated to about 350 degrees) until crisp, about 20 to 30 seconds. Sprinkle with salt and adorn casserole. Drizzle plate with sage-infused grape seed oil. (we did not fry any sage leaves - that's a little fussy for me)

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