The Wife’s Sunday Dinners: Sweet Potato Gratin

Winter is coming…

But first is fall, baby! Best season ever! Don’t sit there and start trying to think of reasons why it’s not, you’ll just be wasting your time. You could think about winter and the pretty snowfall and cozy nights by a fire, or spring and the beauty of the flowers and the warmer breezes. And yeah, summer is nice too, I guess. Soaking up the rays, enjoying the outdoors and whatnot like a savage. 

But fall! Fall has so many characteristics that just tug on your heart strings. The smells, the colors, the flavors, the crisp air. The other seasons can’t hold a candle to fa… the candles! Those fall candles at Bath & Body Works, I know you know what I’m talking about! Lately though we’ve been more into Wallflowers and Room Sprays instead of the candles. But hey, whatever you dig. AND we may or may not have just bought our first Christmas scents! I know, I know, I’m killing the ultra-fall post vibes here, lemme pump the breaks on the C word for now.

Ok, that was my traditional “fall is the best” opening for fall recipes. I’m such a sucker for this time of year I can’t help it. I was sitting here thinking what can I put together for the blog. Then it hit me! I don’t have to put anything together, I already have something!

That’s right, years ago, when we lived in North Carolina, I took some photos of a few dishes the wife loves to make. And by “loves to make”, I mean kicks and fights the whole time because she always second guesses her kitchen skills.

But she makes good stuff! I’m not just saying that because I’m her husband! I mean, look at these sweet potatoes! Honestly, the baked mac and cheese used to be my absolute favorite thing she made. Like I would have it as the main dish and all the other stuff became sides. But I don’t know, something about these sweet potatoes. They’re so magical!

Maybe it has to do with my unapologetic addiction to cinnamon? My uncontrollable sweet tooth that hides in my shadow like a sleeping wolf waiting for the full moon to shine? Who knows what it is, maybe there is no reason other than them being so damn good!

It’s very simple to make it too. No crazy ingredient list or cooking process. You cook the potatoes, slice them, mix the butter and everything else together, then alternate layers in a dish. Doesn’t get any easier for something so good. And it doesn’t look like much when you’re making it, either. But the sauce that comes after baking…

The syrup of butter and cinnamon and sugar and amazingness, sitting there, like a delicious hot spring for sweet potatoes to come and relax in before they go in your belly. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s topped with toasted marshmallows because screw your diet to hell and back, dammit.You have cold months to get ready for!

Let’s check out the recipe:

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Sweet Potato Gratin

Sweet potatoes layered with a buttery sugary cinnamony saucy sauce and topped with toasted marshmallows. It's the way all vegetables wish they could die. 

Ingredients

  • 5 ea - Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 cup - Pecans, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • .5 cup - Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp - Ground Ginger
  • 2 tsp - Ground Cinnamon
  • pinch - Nutmeg
  • 4 Tbsp - Unsalted Butter
  • 2 cups - Miniature Marshmallows

Instructions

  1. Get a pot of cold water and put the sweet potatoes in there. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Should be about 20 minutes.

  2. Drain the potatoes and put them in an ice bath. When cooled, the skins should be peelable. Peel all the skins and set potatoes aside. 

  3. In a small bowl, blend together the pecans, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter, using your fingers. 

  4. Heat oven to 450 and butter a baking dish. While oven is heating, slice the sweet potatoes about 1/4 inch thick. 

  5. Layer the bottom of the dish with a third of the sweet potatoes, and dab a third of the awesome mixture on top. Repeat with the remaining potatoes and mixture till you run out. 

  6. Cover with foil, and bake for about 40 minutes. 

  7. Remove from oven and turn it up to broil. Remove the foil and try hard not to pass out from the overwhelmingly amazing smell. Top the gratin with marshmallows and heat it, uncovered, until browned. About a minute.

Recipe Notes

  • The wife likes to use a 9x13 inch baking dish. It leaves you with about 2 layers of sweet potatoes. If you go down to a square baking dish - 8 or 9 inches or so - you'll get a nice, thick gratin. It won't last as long though.
  • Pecans are totally optional. Sadly, thanks to the devil of a nut allergy in this house, we stopped putting them in the dish. Honestly though, that crunch you get from the pecans puts it over the top. It's soooooooooooo amazing, I used to beg for extra pecans because, damn. I'm a sucker for the varying textures.
  • Speaking of extra, you can put extra cinnamon, ginger, and/or nutmeg. I won't judge you. 
  • What? Extra marshmallows too? Yolo, bro. 
  • For some reason, the mixture has been coming out more of a paste that you dab on. Before (I think back when pecans used to be used in this house), it was more of a mixture you can sprinkle on. You won't go wrong either way, just don't freak out if it's sprinkle..able.

C’mon, do yourself a favor and get this going. Give it a test run before the holidays start and see how it goes. I promise, this will be a staple come Thanksgiving.

 And when you make it, and everyone loves it, come back here and thank my wife so her confidence gets a little boost.

 

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