Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sweet Potato and Pancetta (or Bacon) Gratin



Recipe from Food52.com
Adapted and Husband-Tested in Alice’s Kitchen
Serves 12
These were just scrumptious!  How could they not be with layers of sweet potato, Gruyere cheese, shallots and bits of bacon baked in a little cream!  These can be prepared in advance, chilled and then baked just before serving.  Leave out the bacon for a vegetarian version.  Serve these as a very special appetizer or as a holiday side dish. 
(See notes. **)

2 medium sweet potatoes (1 pound)
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, finely shredded (1 cup)
4 ounces pancetta, diced small (or 1 cup diced bacon, cooked and drained well on a paper towel.)
1 large shallot, minced
3/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper (I used freshly ground black pepper.)

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Peel the sweet potato and slice into 1/8-inch thick rounds.  Generously coat two muffin tins (I used the standard muffin tins each with 6 muffin cups) with nonstick cooking spray. Put one slice of the sweet potato into each cup. Top each with about a teaspoon of the shredded Gruyere, shallot bits and diced pancetta/bacon; sprinkle with a little salt and white pepper.
Repeat twice, overlapping small sweet potato slices if necessary to make a layer and use all slices.  Add any leftover cheese, shallot bits, and pancetta/bacon on top.  Spoon a Tablespoon of heavy cream on top of each cup.  Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover pan loosely with the foil, sprayed side down. (I covered the muffin tins with a piece of parchment and then covered them loosely with foil so that the foil didn’t touch the food with no need to spray with cooking spray.)  Bake 20 minutes. Remove the foil (and parchment paper, if using) and bake, uncovered, for an additional 20 to 25 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender.  Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing from muffin tin.

*Note:  When using bacon, be sure to cook it until brown and almost crisp.  Place the finished sweet potatoes stacks on a paper towel to drain before serving to absorb any grease.

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