Winter Harvest

I'm enjoying my last day off from work during the Christmas holiday, and after all the fattening delicious holiday meals, I've been ready to get back to my normal, more healthy eating habits I have been trying hard to follow for the eight months or so.

When Travis and I came back to B'ham, we brought a big sack full of potatoes and sweet potatoes from the garden Travis planted at mom and dad's last summer. He has really gotten into gardening the past couple of years and has been gardening at mom and dad's during the summers while he was still in college. He planted several varieties of potatoes last summer, and we are still working our way through the harvest's bounty this winter. There are SO MANY varieties of potatoes (including purple) that you will never have the opportunity to see and try if you only shop at the grocery store.

It was so cold and windy outside today, that I decided I wanted something warm and hearty for lunch. With a handful of Travis' potatoes I whipped up a batch of Winter Rainbow Gratin from Heidi Swanson's  cookbook Super Natural Cooking. It hit the spot, and is a good step back to healthier ways.
Heart Shaped Potato!


3 tablespoons clarified butter or olive oil
4 small purple and/or red potatoes, unpeeled and cut into wedges
4 small shallots
1 large red-fleshed sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-in chunks
4 young carrots, cut in half lengthwise if thicker than your thumb
4 green onions, trimmed
Fine-grain salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 apple or pear, unpeeled, cored, and cut into 6 wedges
1/2 cup whole-grain bread crumbs
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 and position rack in the middle of the oven.

Heat the butter in your largest ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. In a single layer, add the potatoes, shallots, sweet potato, carrots, and green onions and toss to coat. Try not to overcrowd the pan, or the vegetables will steam and not brown. If you don't have a big enough pan, split the ingredients between two pans. Saute over medium-high heat for 15 minutes, shaking the pan a couple of times along the way. The vegetables should start to brown a bit and be tender but not mushy.

Remove from the heat and sprinkle with a generous dose of salt and pepper. Stir in the apple wedges. If you don't have an ovenproof skillet, transfer the ingredients to an ovenproof baking dish or casserole. Sprinkle with all the bread crumbs and half of the Parmesan cheese. You don't want to stir at this point; rather, let the crumbs and cheese perch right on top of the vegetables so they'll get nice and crunchy.

Place the uncovered skillet in the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes, tossing the vegetables with a metal spatula about halfway through. The potatoes and carrots should be golden, crispy, and caramelized where they touch the pan and soft and tender inside. When everything is carmelizzed and fragrant, remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Serve straight from the skillet. 

Serves 4 to 6. Enjoy!

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