Home Cooking

Velvety, creamy gratins elude me -- what am I doing wrong?


Home Cooking 7

Velvety, creamy gratins elude me -- what am I doing wrong?

LauraGrace | Dec 11, 2010 03:12 PM

Tonight I made a sweet potato gratin that makes me glad to live alone. Sigh. I mean, don't get me wrong; it was delicious, but definitely NOT what I had envisioned. In my head, I wanted slices of sweet potato surrounded by a fragrant, creamy white sauce, bubbly on the edges, with just a sprinkling of browned pecorino on top. What I ended up with was sweet potatoes floating in a broken mess. Tasted good, looked HIDEOUS. I have NEVER had a bechamel break that badly before.

Here's what I did: made a little roux with olive oil and just a smidge of garlic, added a bit of white wine and some milk to make what I'd call a "medium" white sauce. Salt, pepper, nutmeg. Tossed with half an onion, very thinly sliced, and two big sweet potatoes, also sliced. Sprinkled on a bit of pecorino. Baked for ~45 minutes at 325, which I thought would be cool enough, but maybe not.

Was the wine the problem -- acid/milk? Are sweet potatoes too watery to do this way, or was my sauce too thin? Should I use cream (I'd rather not) or evaporated milk in place of some of the milk? I do struggle with making a bechamel that doesn't break in the oven, but like I said, I've never had one break THAT badly.

I'd like to rescue this recipe, because it was seriously yummy and I do like savory sweet potato applications. Any help would be most welcome!! :) Thanks!

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