My latest sweet potato phase was (as they often are) kicked of by a perfect sweet potato dish. Actually, it wasn’t a dish, it was just a pristine roasted small sweet potato. And it was interestingly served to me at breakfast, alongside some quinoa dish, and a cheerful little poached egg.
It was perfect—brilliant deep orange in color, skin just the right amount of chewy, and that amazing earthy sweet flavor. A tiny pinch of salt was all it needed. Ok, a pat of butter could also have been been swell, but really it was kind of delightful in its purity.
It’s moments like this when my brain then starts rolling the sweet potato tape: “OH YES SWEET POTATOES I LOVE SWEET POTATOES WHEN IS THE LAST TIME I MADE A SWEET POTATO WHY DON’T I MAKE SWEET POTATOES MORE OFTEN IT’S CRAZY NOT TO BE EATING SWEET POTATOES ALL OF THE TIME I’M GOING TO MAKE SWEET POTATOES RIGHT NOW” As you can see the sweet potato tape has no punctuation, not a whole lot of nuance, and it’s kind of repetitive. But that’s the sweet potato narrative.
So I bought me some sweet potatoes, and having just made a really delicious scalloped potatoes side dish (I would tell you what the scalloped potatoes tape sounds like, but truly it’s very similar to the above and if you substitute the words “scalloped potatoes” for “sweet potatoes” above you will have a good enough sense of what this tape includes.
There is an ongoing debate about whether scalloped potatoes should or should not have cheese by definition, and I will hedge my bets by says that I did not include cheese when I made them, but that if you wanted to throw a few handfuls of cheese on top these might get even better, though technically they might then be a gratin. I also think that keeping them cheese-free and simple means that they are slightly cleaner, though by no means austere, and a great pairing for lots of dishes.
I used 1 cup cream and 1 cup half and half to make these, but you could pick a lane and stick with one or the other.
Serve these with:
- Dijon and Honey Crusted Pork Tenderloins
- Chicken Thighs with Onions and Green Olives
- Sautéed Chicken with Spinach and Red Onions
- Roast Eye of Round Beef with Thyme and Rosemary
- Fall-Apart Roasted Pork Shoulder with Rosemary, Mustard and Garlic
Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
- ½ cup minced red onions
- ½ cup minced shallots
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano or thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 large sweet potatoes about 2 1/2 pounds peeled and very thinly sliced
- 1 cup shredded cheese such as Gruyere or sharp cheddar (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 2-quart shallow baking dish or a 9-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Heat the butter in a large deep skillet over medium heat. When the butter is melted add the onions and shallots sauté for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender; don’t let the vegetables brown – turn down the heat if necessary, and stir frequently. Stir in the oregano or thyme, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes if using. Add the cream and half and half and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Place half of the potatoes in the prepared pan. Carefully pour half of the hot liquid over the potatoes, using a spoon to scoop out some of the onions and shallots as your pour. Fill the pan with the rest of the potatoes and pour over the rest of the liquid. Sprinkle over the cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil, press lightly on the top with a spoon to re-submerge the potatoes, and bake for another 30 minutes until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted into the potatoes goes in with almost no resistance.
- Serve hot.
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