Sweet Potato Gratin
For years, it’s been a Thanksgiving (and Christmas!) tradition that I make a Gratin Dauphinoise for the Chief Taste Tester over here at Meatified HQ. The first year I made it, he had no idea what it was. His eyes practically rolled back in his head at first taste and every subsequent year he’d beg me to make a bigger pan so there would be leftovers. Then, we went Paleo. And not only were potatoes out, but so was the cream. Uh oh.
So I set about trying to come up with something which could take the carb and starch-fest’s place on the table at special occasions. At first I thought this would be easy: yay sweet potatoes! Yay coconut milk! Until I, of course, realized that coconut milk really doesn’t thicken too much on its own. Not to mention arrowroot is a pain in the butt due to the fact that it’s really not stable if you get it too hot. That wasn’t going to work in an oven dish.
So then I did some research and realized that heavy cream thickens because it has such a high fat content. Much higher, in fact, than coconut milk. So smartypants me thinks, “Easy! Add fats!”. This did – kind of – work. Aside from the fact that I added far too much coconut oil. While it was a pretty promising attempt, not only was it not thick or “creamy” enough, there was a really grody layer of sweet-potato-orange fat on the bottom of the dish. Not exactly appealing.
So then I attempted to outsmart myself. I needed less oil, but more thickening. So out went the coconut oil; in came a smaller amount of coconut butter. Then I recalled how pumpkin had helped me make an awesome paleo risotto not too long ago and I realized that would help round out the sauce and give more substance to the layers between the sweet potatoes. Genius! Now I just have to remind the Chief Taste Tester that he’s not getting this every weekend!
Here’s how to do it. Slice sweet potatoes to approximately 1/8th inch thick. Unless you have the patience of a saint, use a mandoline! I think I’d lose some digits if I tried to do this without one.
Thinly slice the shallot, too and set aside while you grease a 7×11 baking dish with oil of your choice. You can use a slightly larger dish if you need to, but this one works really well to get enough depth to the gratin. If you make it in a larger dish, you’ll have fewer layers so you’ll need to reduce the cooking time later. Place an overlapping layer of sweet potato slices on the bottom of the dish; alternate with sliced shallots.
Continue until all sweet potato and shallot slices are used up: this should make 4 layers of sweet potato (& 3 of shallots). Save the larger slices for the final layer.
Preheat oven to 400F while you make the sauce. Add coconut butter to a saucepan over very low heat (mine was 1/10); when melted, add almond flour. You’re basically making a paleo / starch free white sauce here.
Whisk almond flour into coconut butter until large crumbs are formed.
Add coconut milk in half cup increments, whisking each time to combine. There will be a few lumps which is fine!
Now you should have something which looks like a thin cream sauce. Too thin, actually.
Now it looks more pretty, but it’s still too thin.
Yay, your sauce is much thicker now! In fact, it’s just a tad thicker than cream would be, which is perfect. Turn up the heat to a low-medium and heat for a few minutes until sauce is warm and pourable.
Pour the sauce over the gratin dish, making sure the top is evenly covered. Yes, I should have taken a photo of this step. Oops. Bake in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes, uncovered, until the potatoes are cooked through and the top is brown. If you let this rest for 5 – 10 minutes when it comes out of the oven, it should slice perfectly!
- 2 lb sweet potatoes (about 2), peeled and sliced ⅛th inch thick
- 1 shallot, sliced thinly
- ¼ cup almond flour
- 2 tbl coconut butter
- 1½ cups coconut milk
- ⅔ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ tbl garlic powder
- Black pepper and fresh herbs of your choice to taste: sage, thyme or a combination are all fantastic!
- Slice sweet potatoes to approximately ⅛th inch thick. Unless you have the patience of a saint, use a mandoline! Thinly slice the shallot, too.
- Grease a 7×11 baking dish with oil of your choice.
- Place an overlapping layer of sweet potato slices on the bottom of the dish; alternate with sliced shallots. Continue until all sweet potato and shallot slices are used up: this should make 4 layers of sweet potato & 3 of shallots. Save the larger slices for the final layer.
- Preheat oven to 400F while you make the sauce.
- Add coconut butter to a saucepan over very low heat; when melted, add almond flour.
- Whisk almond flour into coconut butter until large crumbs are formed.
- Add coconut milk in half cup increments, whisking each time to combine. There will be a few lumps which is fine!
- Add seasonings and fresh herbs; stir in.
- Add pumpkin and whisk until smooth.
- Turn up the heat to a low-medium and heat for a few minutes until sauce is warm and pourable.
- Pour the sauce over the gratin dish.
- Bake in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes, uncovered, until the potatoes are cooked through and the top is brown.
Plus, the e-book bundle you need to hear about!
If you guys haven’t heard of the Village Green Network, it’s an awesome online resource. They have gathered together over 500 blogs dedicated to natural and organic food, healthy living and green lifestyles. In other words, all the stuff that we’re interested in, put in one handy-dandy place. Not everything is Paleo, but whenever I visit, there is nearly always something interesting or thought-provoking there to read. Woah, look at me being all serious. Yikes. Sorry, I’ll get back to my slightly sarcastic self soon.
But I’ve kind of got a sense of humor failure until I finish telling you about this bundle of books which is only available between 17th – 23rd of April. It’s great because it has 30 books included in it for $39, which include some fantastic grain free recipe books like:
Grain-free Breads, Snacks & Desserts by Jill Tieman of Real Food Forager: Learn how to bake with gluten-free, grain-free flours in place of wheat. Properly prepare nuts and seeds for easy digestion. Make yummy snacks and treats that actually provide nutrients and are a positive addition to the diet.
Awaken: 30+ Egg-Free and Grain-Free Breakfasts by Karen Sorenson of Living Low Carb One Day At a Time. Breakfast ideas for those with egg allergies -– perfect for low carb, Paleo, Primal, gluten-free, grain-free, egg-free or dairy-free diets. Takes the guess work out of stocking your grain-free pantry.
Indulge and Heal: 40 Treats Without Grains, Dairy, Nuts and Refined Sugar Lauren Geersten of Empowered Sustenance. Discover new grain-free recipes for the SCD, GAPS, and Paleo Diet! Resources and tools for natural healing — and support and encouragement for a holistic lifestyle.
Personally, it’s some of the non-recipe books I’m excited about. As a long-time Hashimoto’s patient, I’m really interested in reading “The Nourished Metabolism” by The Nourished Life, which looks at how diet, exercise and stress all interact with metabolic health.
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Please note that these products are downloadable ebooks. You will not be shipped any physical goods with your purchase of the Village Green Network’s Spring e-book Bundle. Please contact email@example.com with any questions.
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