Winter meals in the northwest corner of the Pacific Northwest are all about warmth, stick-to-your-ribs heartiness, and flavors with substance. For locavores, winter is also about root vegetables, the kinds of things that are harvested in late fall and can be stored over the winter.
This dish meets all those criteria. Sunchokes add an extra earthy flavor to the milder, heat-holding potatoes. Butter and cream help with both flavor and texture. Shallots, garlic, and thyme complete the savory taste profile. The crunchy topping gives contrast.
- 1 lb (2 large) sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) (Alm Hill Gardens, Everson)
- 1 lb yellow potatoes (Hopewell Farm, Everson)
- 2 tsp salt (split)
- 1 Tbsp butter plus some to grease baking dish (Breckinridge Farm, Everson)
- ½ cup chopped shallots (Hopewell Farm, Everson)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (Rabbit Fields Farm, Everson)
- 1 cup heavy cream (Twin Brook Creamery, Lynden)
- 1 tsp dried thyme (home dried from Half Acre Farm u-pick, Ferndale)
- ⅓ cup bread crumbs (homemade bread)
- Start a large pot of water heating to a boil.
- Meanwhile, peel and slice the sunchokes and potatoes into thin slices (about ⅛ inch thick).
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In the pan of boiling water, add 1 tsp salt, sunchokes, and potatoes. Parboil for about 5 minutes to slightly soften vegetables. Drain well and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.
- In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and saute the shallots and garlic until shallots are translucent.
- In mixing bowl, mix shallots and garlic with cream, thyme, and another 1 tsp salt.
- Grease a 9x15 inch baking dish with butter. Spread the sunchokes and potatoes evenly over the bottom. Try to keep the layer a fairly uniform thickness so it will bake evenly. Pour the shallot mixture over all and distribute evenly.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top has begun to brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle top with bread crumbs. Return dish to oven and continue cooking for another 5 minutes until the top is well browned and the potatoes and sunchokes are easily pierced with a fork.
Sunchoke Potato Gratin goes well with almost any meat main dish. I also sometimes eat it as a vegetarian entree with something like steamed winter Brussels sprouts.
Acme Farms + Kitchen, order online.
Bellingham Farmers Market
Community Food Co-op, 1220 N. Forest St. or 315 Westerly Road, Bellingham
Half Acre Farm U-pick at Boxx Berry Farm, 6211 Northwest Road, Ferndale
Terra Organica, 1530 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham