Saturday, January 26, 2013

Winter Squash and Gruyere Gratin

The ingredients that made me look twice at this recipe were the butternut squash, the leek, white wine, and the Gruyere.  Surely those four ingredients could produce something tasty.

The squash gets baked

the leek gets steamed

and the wine becomes the beginning of a creamy sauce

You are given the option of using evaporated skim milk (which is what I used) or whole milk.  I wasn't impressed with the evaporated milk.  I suggest you use whole or 2% milk.

Instead of the bread crumb/cheese mixture typical for a gratin, this recipe called for toasted slices of a baguette.

All of the ingredients waiting to be layered.  I could tell there was no way these ingredients were going to fit in the shallow traditional au gratin dish so I used an 8 cup casserole.

Start with half of the squash

Half the sauce

Half the toasted baguette slices

then the Gruyere

Repeat the layers, top with the Parmesan and bake.

Winter Squash and Gruyere Gratin
Adapted from Food and Wine October 1988
Serves 4 to 6

2 medium butternut squash (1-1/2 pounds each)
3/4 tsp salt, divided
3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper, divided
1 medium leek
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp water
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup whole or 2% milk
1/2 tsp sugar
8 - 10 thin slices of a baguette
4 ounces Gruyere cheese
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
8 basil leaves, shredded (optional)

Mise en place
  • Slice squash in half lengthwise; remove seeds
  • clean leek and chop the white part only
  • measure olive oil into a medium saucepan
  • slice baguette and toast in oven until brown on both sides
  • measure seasonings, wine, chicken stock, milk, and sugar
  • grate cheeses
Pre-heat oven to 400°F.  Place halves, cut side up, in a baking dish.  Season with 1/2 tsp each of the salt and pepper and cover tightly with foil.  Bake until the squash are tender but not mushy, about 1 hour.  Set aside to cool slightly.  With a large spoon, scoop meat of the squash in pieces into a bowl and set aside.

While squash are baking, combine the leek, olive oil and 2 tsp water in a medium saucepan.  Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the leek is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Remove the lid and stir in the wine.  Increase the heat to high and boil until the liquid is reduced to approximately 3 Tbsp, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the stock, milk, sugar and remaining 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper.  Remove from the heat.

To assemble the gratin, preheat the oven to 400°F.  Re-heat the leek mixture until hot but not so hot that the mixture separates.  Spoon half of the squash into a 6 to 8 cup ovenproof casserole.  Ladle half of the leek mixture over the top and cover with half of the toasted baguettes and half of the Gruyere.  Repeat the layers with the remaining squash, leek mixture, baguettes and Gruyere.  Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake the gratin for 30 minutes, or until the top is browned and bubbly.  Garnish with the basil and serve (optional)

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