Side Dishes · vegetarian

Mashed Sweet Potato Gratin {Or, a Case of Marshmallow Hate and Yam confusion}

sweet potato gratinYou know those sweet potatoes you see in the grocery store that are about as big as a toddler’s head? Well, I had three of those bad boys in my fridge the other day that were crying out to be used.

Now, I really love sweet potatoes. But, there are also two things I really do not like about sweet potatoes.

  1. Cutting them. Ain’t nothing I can do about this folks. Cutting sweet potatoes is just really annoying. Even with a sharp knife, making your way through those things is a bit of a wrestling match. But I feel the flavor is worth it. Consider it an arm workout and move on is the best I can offer you here friends.
  2. I abhor the marshmallow and sweet creations that are made of these root veggies during the holidays. O.K. Abhor is strong. But, I really don’t like it. {Ab-hor. regard with disgust and hatred. Is it too much? } Anywhoo, anything I do with sweet potatoes is always savory. They are soooo sweet on there own, you gotta add in the savory.

So, what have we learned from this post so far? Let’s recap:

  1. I have giant sweet potatoes in my fridge.
  2. I hate cutting them, but will anyway because they are delicious and nutritious, I will consider it an arm workout with calories burned, skip the gym (ha, ha! I don’t really got to the gym, I lift a toddler all day), and have an extra glass of wine for wrestling those suckers.
  3. I abhor sweet treatments of sweet potatoes (Yams? Sweet Potatoes? I know there is a difference…)

Taking our knowledge and moving on…

After I resigned myself to peel and chop these fellows up, I did happen to make a super yummy side dish. Creamy, cheesy, crispy-crusted. Excuse me while I eat the leftovers in my fridge…

Ok, I’m back. And here’s the recipe: {Serves 5- 6 as a side dish}


Three Large Sweet Potatoes

1/2 stick of butter

1/4 to 1/2 cup of 1/2 & 1/2 or cream

Fresh grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 a regular sized block, or 1/2 c)

kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper


Wash, peel and chop the sweet potatoes (yams?) into 2″ cubes, place then into a pot and cover with water. Add about 2 tbsp of kosher salt to the water (water should taste like sea water)

boil potatoes until tender

Pre-heat broiler

add potatoes to a casserole dish, add butter and toss until melted.

Add in cream and mash potatoes with a fork or potato masher.

Stir in half of the parm cheese

Taste the potatoes-salt to your liking. Pepper to your liking.

make a smooth-ish layer out of the potatoes (leave some peaks for browning and crisping)

Sprinkle on the rest of the parm cheese and place casserole dish in oven until crisped and bubbly (watch carefully- this can go from browned to burnt fast. takes about 5-7 minutes.)

Pork tenderloin made a great companion to this dish {bonus recipe! Pat dry, then salt, pepper, Italian season a 2 lb pork tenderloin. Cook on a foil or parchment covered sheet pan for 40 minutes at 425 covered with foil. Remove foil, cook for additional 15 minutes. I like to make a small cut in the loin to check for done-ness. Should be just  slightly pinkish white. Cover and let rest on counter for 10 minutes. Slice  Adjust cooking time according to weight.)

sweet potato gratin with pork

**This post was brought to you by a gal who should, but cannot, tell the difference between a sweet potato and a yam. It says ‘yam’ in the grocery store. I see pictures of ‘yams’ that I just purchased from said store featured in  recipes…but they are always called sweet potatoes. Help a sister out.


I most likely should know this difference, but I’m too busy eating their mysterious deliciousness to care.

~A special thank you to my son for creating this amazing piece of artwork (that you see behind the plate) while I cooked dinner. As Tina Turner would say, you’re simply the best!


3 thoughts on “Mashed Sweet Potato Gratin {Or, a Case of Marshmallow Hate and Yam confusion}

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