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Try This Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dish!

Ombré Gratin

By Alexa Weibel

Time 3 hours

Rating 4

Yield: 12 servings





This stunning vegetarian Thanksgiving main dish belongs at the center of any table. Beneath acrispy, wispy golden crust of store-bought phyllo lies a gratin with layers of creamy autumnalvegetables in a colorful ombré pattern. Slice the vegetables very thinly using a mandoline forsafety and ease (see Tip), and they’ll bake up tender and creamy. Because each vegetable hasvarying densities and sugar levels, they benefit from individual attention: Salt each layerzealously, as the vegetables need a significant amount to offset their natural sweetness, and theyreally soak up the sauce. The sweet potatoes and squash may be sliced before you start cooking,but the potatoes should be done later, to prevent them from oxidizing, and the beets, to preventthem from falling apart. This creamy root vegetable gratin is exacting, and requires some effort,but its wow factor justifies the labor. What would you like to cook?


INGREDIENTS

  • FOR THE CREAM

  • 3tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the dish

  • 1½cups finely chopped shallots (from 4 large shallots)

  • 8garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 2tablespoons whole black peppercorns

  • 4cups half-and-half

  • 8fresh or dried bay leaves

  • 2tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

  • ¾teaspoon grated nutmeg

  • 1½teaspoons kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)

  • 3large egg yolks

  • 2½pounds red potatoes (about 6 medium red potatoes), scrubbed

  • Kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal) and black pepper

  • 2large beets (about 6 ounces each)

  • 10ounces Gruyère, grated (about 4 cups)

  • 2large sweet potatoes (about 10 ounces each), peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced into ⅛-inch-thick slices (see Tip)

  • 2pounds butternut squash (the neck of 1 squash), peeled, quartered lengthwise and sliced into ⅛-inch-thick slices (see Tip)

  • ½cup plus 2 tablespoons/5 ounces unsalted butter

  • 16phyllo pastry sheets, thawed





PREPARATION

  1. Step 1

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TIP

  • In order for the vegetables to be tender by the time the phyllo is crispy and golden, they must be sliced ⅛-inch thick. A mandoline makes fast work of vegetable slicing and creates uniformly thin pieces, though you could use a very sharp knife (and an abundance of caution) when slicing the dense vegetables. Japanese Benriner slicers are restaurant staples, and are affordable tools for home cooks, too.

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