Day 18 of 31 days of pumpkin and I’ve decided to bring one of my favorite potato recipes into the world of pumpkin. The dish? Gratin Dauphinois or Potatoes Gratin. Thinly sliced potatoes baked in cream and Gruyére cheese. Surely pumpkin can adapt, but not on its own and so I’ve paired it with Garnet yams. One of my inspirations cooking this dish with pumpkins and yams comes from the fact that I always add a little nutmeg to dishes with melted Gruyére, like macaroni and cheese. It’s not a far jump from nutmeg to pumpkin, so I thought, maybe pumpkin and yams will stand up to the creamy cheesy sauce that is a gratin. I was right. This dish is great for confronting October’s chill.
Everything I know about Gratin Dauphinois, I learned from Jacques Pépin and his book, Chez Jacques Deluxe Edition: Traditions and Rituals of a Cook Awhile back, I did a blog post called, Gratin Dauphinois of Potatoes, Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes) and Leeks. If you’re going to get serious about making Potatoes Gratin at home, it’s worth investing in a mandoline. I purchased a simple one for under $40 that I like, but it doesn’t do really fancy cuts like waffle cuts. It is available at Amazon.
3 Tbsp butter
3/4 cups diced shallots
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1.5 lbs fresh pumpkin, sliced into 2 inch squares that are about 1/2 inch thick
1.5 lbs thinly sliced Garnet yams
4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 425˚F.
3. Add sage and thyme and sautée until fragrant, about one minute. Add the yams and the pumpkin slices, salt and pepper. Toss yams and pumpkin to coat with butter, shallots and herbs. Add milk and cream until just about covering the yams and pumpkin. Bring milk just to a boil. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle mixture with Gruyére cheese and then top with Parmesan. Bake for 1 hour. Check periodically to make sure that the cheese doesn’t burn.
3. Once the gratin is removed from the oven, let it cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Flavors will meld and consistency of cream/cheese sauce will be just right.