Brie and Sweet Potato Gratin

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Gratin dauphinois is such a crowd pleaser. Who doesn’t love sliced potatoes cooked in a creamy sauce and covered in cheese? The dish made very regular visits to our family table whether for a special occasion or for Sunday lunch and so, this is our example of  a nostalgic, comforting dish, just like mac and cheese or chicken soup for some people. It is very simple to make and involves one of the first cooking techniques we learnt (other than stirring cake mixture and licking the bowl afterwards): making a roux. Don’t be alarmed, it mainly involves lots of vigorous stirring as well as a dash of this and a dash of that – you’ll get lunch on the table in no time!

However, we thought we’d change it up a bit as usual and so have substituted sweet potato for the potato, drenched it in a garlicky-rosemary white sauce and covered it all in the strongest French brie we could find. The result is creamy and savoury with a hint of sweetness, good enough to eat out of the baking dish alone – bon appetit!

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Makes 4-6 portions

2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp plain flour
150ml vegetable stock
200ml milk (whole or semi-skimmed is best)
1 clove of garlic, chopped
5 sprigs of rosemary
1/4-1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 medium sweet potato, sliced thinly
100g brie, sliced lengthways
salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan-assisted).
  2. Gently melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat until fully melted, but not browned.
  3. Take the pan off the heat and quickly but thoroughly mix in the flour.
  4. Put the pan back on the heat and gradually pour in the milk and stock, stirring all the time.
  5. Add the garlic and 1 sprig of rosemary to the sauce, which should thicken within a few minutes. (Don’t worry about lumps; whisk thoroughly to get rid of lumps or sieve the mixture after it is cooked.)
  6. Once the sauce has thickened (like the consistency of custard), turn off the heat and stir in the nutmeg plus salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Start laying the sweet potato slices in a baking dish, making sure to season each layer slightly with salt and pepper.
  8. Fish out the rosemary sprigs out of the white sauce to discard.
  9. Pour the white sauce all over the sweet potato slices, making sure they are all covered in the sauce.
  10. Lay the slices of brie on top of the mixture and garnish with the remaining rosemary sprigs.
  11. Bake the mixture in the oven for approximately 40-60 minutes until the sweet potato is soft. Remember, oven temperatures vary so do keep an eye on this dish from time to time to ensure it doesn’t burn (you can cover it with foil to prevent this), and of course, because of this, it may take shorter/longer than our recommended baking time.

So what do you think? Feel free to share your questions and comments below! We’d love to hear what you have to say.

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