There are many versions of scalloped potatoes. They seem to go well with so many things—ham, meatloaf, turkey, etc. With heavy cream, and all that cheesy, creamy goodness and the crispy crust, they are an indulgence worth every calorie! But they’re orange, you say…Surprise!!! These are scalloped sweet potatoes. This is actually a recipe The Goddess usually makes for Easter. She thinks it’s good to step outside the box a bit and try scalloped potatoes using sweet potatoes, which she thinks compliments ham exceptionally well. And they do. But, this is also a terrific dish to serve in the fall, particularly a nice outside-the-box version of sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner.
In the sake of full disclosure, I have to be honest. The Goddess got a bit side-tracked with her crossword puzzle…that 23 down…what could it be? She was thinking too hard and lost track of time, but realized it too late. She sliced the potatoes, prepared the cream sauce, shredded the cheese, used the pre-cooked, crumbled bacon she buys by the pound (it’s so nice to have on hand and no messy stove to clean up) and assembled the whole mess, covered it with plastic wrap and took it with her (we were traveling). When we arrived, she put the assembled dish in the microwave for about 9 or 10 minutes, then transferred it a 400°F oven and baked it until the top was a lovely brown and everything was bubbly and gooey, about 8-10 minutes. It worked. And it worked well enough so she just may use this method from now on. What normally would have taken at least an hour to bake, was done in about 20 minutes. Sometimes those kitchen gnomes smile and life is good.
This is a make-ahead dish, if you wish to. At the very least, it is an assemble ahead dish.
Kicked-Up Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled (about a good 1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup chopped leeks or chopped Vidalia onion
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed and very finely minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/4 cups half-and-half
- Large pinch ground cumin
- Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
- 1 1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup pepitas or pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat; add the olive oil. Add the chopped leeks, garlic and chile; cook until tender. Add salt and pepper. Add cream, half-and-half and cumin; cook until mixture thickens slightly, then set aside. Combine the cheese and pumpkin seeds; set aside.
Arrange 1/3 of the sweet potato slices in the bottom of a well-oiled baking dish. Sprinkle on 1/2 of the crumbled bacon and 1/3 of the cheese. Pour on 1/3 of the cream mixture. Repeat two more times, ending with the cheese (there won’t be bacon in the final layer. Bake, uncovered, for 40-50 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Slide the dish under the broiler, to further brown the topping, if desired.
Make-ahead: Bake as directed, cover and refrigerate for up to one day. Reheat at 325°F degrees for 15-20 minutes covered, then remove cover and continue heating until warm.
Kicked-Up Scalloped Sweet Potatoes Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
I think the original recipe suggested steaming or boiling the sweet potato slices for about 5-7 minutes before starting this, but that seemed like way too much extra work, so I nixed that and this version has worked well for me. However, as I mentioned earlier, I think I’ll switch to the microwave version. It was so much faster and I thought there really wasn’t a difference.
I would do the final cook or broil though, as I like the cheese crusty, but that’s a personal thing. This goes well with baked ham and roasted pineapple slices and Scalloped Corn. I like these sweet potatoes with a pork roast and turkey, too. Some flavors just work together.