These mini sweet potato gratins are a perfect gluten-free and vegetarian holiday appetizer or side. They’re full of flavor thanks to a rich sweet onion cream sauce.
Happy day before Thanksgiving! I know I may be getting you these mini sweet potato gratins a bit too late for them to be part of tomorrow’s spread, but they’re delicious and fun anytime. They’d be great with Christmas dinner or as part of an appetizer table for a New Year’s party. Who doesn’t love their own little stack of sweet potatoes baked in a creamy sauce with a little cheese?
This gratin gets its unique flavor from a sauce made with sweet onions simmered slowly in butter, then blended with cream, sour cream, and a little bit of spice. The sauce is tossed with thinly sliced sweet potatoes, which are then stacked in muffin tins with a little bit of parmesan cheese. Everything is baked until nice and golden and bubbly, and that’s it! These take a little while and you’ll use your food processor three times if you let it do the slicing (which I highly recommend!), but they’re worth it. I may or may not have had almost half a dozen of these for lunch the other day…
The sauce for these mini sweet potato gratins is inspired by the cookbook Heritage by Sean Brock, which is one of my favorite books for Southern food inspiration. It’s full of updated versions of Southern classics and recipes using ingredients grown in the south, like Vidalia onions. Brock’s version of the gratin uses white potatoes, but I like to change things up. I already used the sauce last year to make this gratin with cabbage, daikon, and kohlrabi, and have been wanting to use it again because it’s so addictive.
The sauce is so good, in fact, that I’m always tempted to pour myself a little bowl of it to enjoy all on its own while the gratin bakes. I usually limit myself to just a few spoonfuls instead. Sometime soon, though, you may see me lightening it up with a little chicken stock and calling it soup!
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’m so grateful to you for stopping by my site and giving my recipes a try! If there’s anything I can do to help you out food-wise this holiday season, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can always get in touch by leaving a comment or emailing me here: (becky(at)acalculatedwhisk(dot)com).
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 large sweet onions, trimmed, peeled, and thinly sliced*
- ½ cup heavy cream or half and half
- ⅔ cup sour cream
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of nutmeg (I like to grate whole nutmeg)
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds*
- 1 cup finely grated parmigiano reggiano
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until it foams. Add the onions and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for an hour. The onions should be translucent and almost jammy.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease two 12-cup muffin tins with butter.
- Carefully transfer the onions to the bowl of a large food processor. Add the cream, sour cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne and blend until very smooth (2-3 minutes). Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. You want the sauce to be a bit over-seasoned because it will provide most of the seasoning for the sweet potatoes as well.
- Toss the sweet potato slices with the sauce in the saucepan or a large bowl, mixing thoroughly but gently to coat all the slices. Arrange slices in stacks the muffin cups to fill them halfway, then sprinkle on half of the cheese. Fill the cups up the rest of the way and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the gratins are nicely browned on top and tender when pierced with a fork or toothpick.
- Cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve hot or warm.
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