Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hate to make it, love to eat it - Butternut squash and sweet potato gratin

Butternut squash and sweet potato gratin - irresistibly delicious

Let me count the reasons why I shouldn't make this dish.
  • I love butternut squash, but hate working with it. Am I the only wimp who feels like peeling a butternut squash is as much work as whittling an oak branch? And slicing the dense veggie is as taxing as chopping wood.
I feel like a lumberjack when I work with butternut squash. Here is the first of two layers of the dense veggie.
  • The ingredients - machengo or gruyère cheese and heavy cream - make it a bit expensive for this frugal cook.
  • Those same ingredients - oodles of cheese and heavy cream - make it a bit high fat for this health-conscious cook.
Let me count the reason that, in spite of all the negatives, I've made this dish twice in the last two weeks.
  • It is irresistibly delicious. The sweetness of the sweet potatoes. The nuttiness of the butternut squash. The richness of the cream and cheeses. The savory goodness of the thyme. Who could ask for anything more?
Pinch My Salt provides the recipe and excellent photographic instructions for this tasty dish.

Do you have a dish that you hate to make but love to eat?


Miss Havisham's Tea Party said...

I tasted it and I could live on it.

That, and beer.

Cafe Observer said...

SC, ask your Indian friend after ChristMas which Indian rests he recommends in the SGV.

altadenahiker said...

Oh yes, that's exactly what I need: More fat in my diet. Why oh why does fat taste so good? Why can't I lust after a stalk of celery?

Margaret said...

Now you'll see just how unvirtuous I really am. You slave away on vegetables; I slave away on sugar. I hate to make sugar cookies -- all that rolling and cutting of tray after tray -- but I sure like to eat them.

Susan C said...

Miss H, I could live on this too, but with bubbly.

CO, My friend lives in Artesia and works in downtown LA, so I doubt that she has recommendations for the SGV, but I'll get her picks for Little India.

AH, Doesn't get much fatter than heavy cream. That and yak butter.

Margaret, Ya' know what? I hate making sugar cookies too. And the decorating with the icing, and the different colors that stain and the messy sprinkles. Eek! But guess what I'm doing this afternoon? C's boyfriend's little sis is nine and she CAN'T WAIT to help make and decorate cookies. So I'll take a nip of egg nog (spiked with brandy) and roll with the dough.

Anonymous said...

Your blog has inspired me to cook! I tried my first soup. I changed out the ingrediants (sweet potatoes instead of russet, shredded carrots instead of corn/leeks) but kept with the vegetable stock. Who would of thought that tubers wouldn't get along? Beyond repair, it's in the mulch pile now.
I was forced to go back to the market and try again. This time my soup it's really good: better when I add Kafir cheese.

I may try this casserole. Because I am as strong as a lumberjack, maybe it won't be to difficult.

Susan C said...

PA, You just made my day!

I'm so pleased that you're experimenting with cooking and not afraid to make "mistakes." Glad your second batch of soup was a winner.

Barbara1of3 said...

Hi Susan,

I was assigned a vegetable dish for Christmas Eve, so I think I'll once again take your recommendation and make this. Did you use machengo or gruyere cheese? Do you think it will travel and reheat well?

Susan C said...

Hi Barbara, I couldn't find machengo, so I used a combination of gruyere and parmesan. (I used half parmesan because I couldn't bear to buy $16.00 worth of gruyere.)

I brought it to a potluck on Saturday and ended up serving it at room temp. If your hostess can spare the oven, I think I would bake it halfway at home (with the foil on) and then do the second half of the baking (without the foil) at the party. The recipe mentions that you can pop it under the broiler if you like it more golden brown, but, as you can see from my photo, it doesn't really need the extra bronzing.

I think it will be a hit.

Petrea said...

Split pea soup. Because it needs to go through the blender once it's cooked. It's hot and it's a mess. But it's so good. I've added variations to the recipe (extra potatoes and pepper, mostly) and mmmmmm. It's a two person job.

Susan C said...

Petrea, Have you thought about getting one of those hand-held blenders? I don't make hot soups that have to be blended for just the reason you describe, but I would if I had one of those handy gadgets.

Petrea said...

Susan, you're talking to a person whose friend recently called her "my little kitchen dope." I'll have to research the hand-held blender. Never heard of it but it sounds like I need one.

Susan C said...

Petrea, They're also called immersion blenders and range in price from $29 to $129.

Anonymous said...

Here's an option to enjoy this squash without much fuss: just cut the
whole thing in half length wise. Clean out the seeds from the bowl part
and separate the bowl section from the squash neck since each section
cooks at different rates. Surprisingly, the bowl takes considerably
longer since it is more fibrous, nor does it render much "fruit."
Oil the sections; your can be creative with the bowl since it can hold
favors, butter, liquid depending on your taste (nutmeg is good)

* Lay the neck sections, flat side down, in a baking pan _without
_water; this method helps develop the creamy richness with a
minimum of fat.
* Bake at 375-400 until tender.
* Easy to peal and delicious.

Anonymous said...

happened upon your recipe today and just wanted to tell you about the Gator peeler, my mom saw this on an infomercial and my oh my it works wonderfully but if you can't find that online my mom used to have the supermarket people cut the squash for her. Sounds Yummy.

Petrea said...

Thanks, I'll check 'em out online.

Susan C said...

Wow! I'm getting a lot of good advice about cooking and cutting the squash. I definitely need one of those gator peelers.

Laurie said...

I make a curried pumpkin soup that is wonderful -- but a big pain involving a zillion steps. It's best with fresh pumpkin, of course, and you know how long that takes to mess with. Even using pumpkin puree out of a can, there is the blending midway (it has cauliflower in it) and I still don't have an immersion blender.

I DEFINITELY want a gator peeler!

This casserole looks heavenly and definitely worth the effort. I recently attempted a sweet potato and black bean gratin that ended up a big, gloppy mess.

Frankie said...

Your pictures are always so inviting. I have to try this one too!!!!

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