I hope you all had a merry Christmas! No holiday is complete without a menu of delicious food and hopefully your menu included a cheesy delight like this one. Truth be told, I served pretty traditional individual scalloped potato stacks alongside ham, individual delicata squash sformatos, roasted carrots and parsnips, and crescent rolls, but I wouldn't have balked at this substitution in the slightest. The flavorful blue potatoes and butternut squash form an alternating earthy and sweet structure within which nutty cheese and vibrant herbs mingle. While I enjoy it primarily for its flavor, it's a healthier substitute for some of the fattier and starchier side dishes, and gluten-free for any guests with that dietary restrictions (vegans and lactose-intolerant people will have to look elsewhere). When trying to be a locavore in northern climates, it can take some effort to keep things interesting, but this recipe definitely did my winter CSA veggies justice.
Butternut Squash, Blue Potato, and Gruyere Gratin
adapted from the New York Times
serves 6 to 8 as a side, 3 to 4 as a main
1 large garlic clove, cut in half
1 pound blue potatoes, scrubbed, peeled if desired and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
3/4 cup, shredded Gruyère cheese (3 ounces)
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper
2-1/2 cups low-fat milk
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Rub the inside of a 2-quart gratin dish or baking dish with the cut side of the garlic, and lightly oil with olive oil or butter. Slice any garlic that remains and toss with the potatoes, squash, thyme, rosemary, half the cheese and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Arrange in an even layer in the gratin dish.
2. Pour the milk over the potatoes and squash, and press the vegetables down into the milk. Place in the oven, and bake one hour. Every 20 minutes, remove the gratin dish and press the potatoes and squash down into the liquid with the back of a large spoon. After one hour, sprinkle on the remaining cheese and bake for another 30 minutes, until the top is golden and the sides crusty. Remove from the oven, and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serve hot or warm.