Sunday, February 3, 2008

Potato Gratin "Heaven and Earth" with Lambs Lettuce

My contribution to the Paper Chef #26 - The Return. The four ingredients to be used were potatoes, bacon, swede/rutabaga and plum tomatoes. Ilva urged us to get creative so I was trying to think of of something a little more... out of the ordinary.

There is a dish in North-West Germany called "Heaven and Earth". It is basically mashed potatoes (earth) with cooked, mashed apples (heaven). I had never actually had it myself but had heard its praises sung so much that I decided to try a hommage to Heaven and Earth by including apples in the gratin.

So, how was it? It was WOW. I'm glad I tried what when I first thought of it seemed crazy and probably inedible. It was heaven, so to speak. The mealiness of the potatoes was perfectly complimented by the swedes' texture, and the apples contributed sweetness, a little tartness and juiciness (duh). All in all the comfort of a gratin with an interesting zing. I am definitely making this again.

Potato Gratin "Heaven and Earth"

2 pounds mealy potatoes
1/2 pound swedes
1 apple
some fresh thyme

1/2 cup soy creamer
1 1/2 cup vegan stock
2 bay leaves

1 tblsp flour, dissolved in some water

some lemon juice, nutmeg, freshly ground black pepper

Bring the soy creamer and stock with the bay leaves to a boil, stirr in the dissolved flour and stirr until it thickens slightly. Season with freshly ground pepper, nutmeg, and lemon juice and add salt to taste. You want to be a little on the salty side since the potatoes absorb a lot of flavor.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Peel the potatoes, swede, and apple and slice approx. 1/4 inch thick. Layer nicely in a flat, wide gratin form, tucking in a slice of apple here and there, and sprinkling it with some fresh thyme. Gently pour the sauce over the veggies. Bake for approx. 30 minutes or until the veggies are tender and nice and golden. If it starts browning too much, lower the heat to 350°F (170°C). Serve with Lamb's Lettuce, Plum Tomatoes, and Faux Bacon.

Lamb's Lettuce, Plum Tomatoes, and Faux Bacon

Cut 2 ounces of extra firm tofu into small cubes. Heat some olive oil in a pan, add the cubes and fry until they are crisp and golden. Add a generous splash of soy sauce. This will give the cubes a deep dark color and give them this savory, salty touch.

Wash lambs lettuce (between the two of us we eat 5 ounces), slightly salt it and give it a generous splash of good balsamic vinegar and fruity extra virgin olive oil. Toss. Add plum tomatoes and "bacon" pieces.

Gluten-free depends on the use of gluten-free ingredients.


Vegan_Noodle said...

I'll bet that is a good combination!! I've had sweet potates roasted with pears before which was yummy. Your tart looks so beautiful!!

VeggieGirl said...

wow, what a lovely version of potato gratin!! looks good!!

I saw your comment on my blog - I bake with maple syrup all the time; it was the maple-butter that I think caused the cookies not to bake properly (since it's such a dense spread/ingredient)

Peter M said...

Anke, your gratin is beautifully photographed and it sounds like you still got some flavour in it.

Anke said...

so there are people out there mixing potatoes and pears? and I thought this was creative *sniff*

Champsleeve said...

This sounds really good. I'm really impressed with your substitution for bacon. We just through imitation bacon bits on our recipe!


Bron said...

Oooh just say gratin and I'm there, looks yummy!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Really nice sub for the bacon! Love the gratin.