Individual Sweet Potato Gratins with Creme Fraiche, Onions, and Bacon

By Erin McDowell
September 24, 2009
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Author Notes: My boyfriend is an overall carb hater (I never thought that was possible), but he's a sucker for sweet potatoes. The bacon gets crisp and the onions get soft and make this gratin super delicious. Individual portions mean I can make a big batch, and reheat it later as a last-minute side dish.Erin McDowell

Food52 Review: Sweet potatoes are often made even more sweet using ingredients like maple syrup, brown sugar, molasses, and even marshmallows. We like that apartmentcooker goes definitively in the other direction by adding bacon, parmesan, onion, garlic and a crème fraîche bechamel, while still paying homage to more traditional recipes (she adds a tablespoon of brown sugar to the bechamel, with delightful results). Thinly sliced sweet potatoes are layered in the baking dish (we used one dish big enough for two rather than individual ones) with bechamel, crisped bacon, and raw onions and garlic, which infuse the gratin with their fragrance. A sprinkling of parmesan on top helps with browning, but if you want a little more color, pop the gratin under the broiler for a few minutes at the end. We found that 20-25 minutes baking time was perfect for a two-person baking dish. - A&MThe Editors

Serves: 2

  • 4 pieces bacon, diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, thinly sliced (1/8" thick)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • parmesan cheese, grated, to taste
  1. Lightly grease 2 individual baking dishes (I used a bowl that holds roughly 1 1/2 cups). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small saute pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove from heat, and toss with onion and garlic.
  3. In a small pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour, and cook until the mixture is well combined but still pale. Stir in the milk and the creme fraiche.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and bring the bechamel to a simmer. Stir in nutmeg, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.
  5. Layer 4-6 slices of potato at the base of each of the prepared baking dishes. Top with a few tablespoons of bechamel, and a few spoonfuls of the bacon mixture. Repeat with another layer of potatoes, another layer of bechamel, and more bacon. Top with one last layer of potatoes, and spoon remaining bechamel over the top. Finish with a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake the gratins until they are bubbly around the edges and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

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