Monday, December 12, 2011

Thanksgiving Part Dos: Curried Batata Gratin and Mama's Cocktail Meatballs

Meatballs blending with the curry cream sauce. So good.

The best picture I can find of the Curried Batata Gratin.
Still leaves a little to the imagination. Can you just trust me on this one?

Welcome to Part Dos of the First Annual Gluten-Free, Mostly Vegetarian, Dominican-American Thanksgiving. 

I'm going to skip right to the recipes, because these babies deserve all the attention. Both of these dishes are equal parts sweet and savory, and on a plate, when the sauces mix together, it's pure perfection. Compliments abounded about these two, and I hope you'll try them out for yourself.


Curried Batata Gratin 
Thanks to 

In my case, I used batatas, the DR's version of sweet potatoes. Though they look different at the outset (pictures coming soon), they are very similar in taste, and you can substitute the batatas for sweet potatoes wherever you may be. The crunch of the almond gives this dish a remarkable spark - so don't skimp on this ingredient!

I doubled this vegetarian recipe, since I wasn't sure who would make it to the actual Thanksgiving dinner. 14 people showed up, I made enough for 16-20, and there were no leftovers of this dish. That says it all my friends.

1 quart heavy cream (I know, I know. Not my healthiest recipe. But the holidays are for indulging every once in a while, right?)
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic
1/2 bunch fresh fine-chopped cilantro
2-3 large batatas, or 4 large sweet potatoes
2 egg whites
2 cups parmesan cheese
1/2 cup toasted almond pieces
1 teaspoon salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole pan - a 9x13 baking dish will work fine.

Bring the cream, curry powder, turmeric, bay leaf, and garlic to a boil in a medium saucepan. Set aside and let the flavors steep for about 30 minutes.

Strain the bay leaf and garlic from the cream. Peel the batatas or sweet potatoes. Slice them 1/2-inch thick.

Whip up the egg whites in a large bowl. Toss the batatas, salt and pepper into the egg whites, and mix. You may have to do this in batches.

Place a layer of batata in the casserole pan. Spread parmesan cheese on top. Repeat until you are out of batatas.

Pour the cream on top of the potatoes until it is gone and evenly distributed.

Top the casserole with the remaining cheese and almonds. Cover with tin foil, and bake in the oven until it is golden and bubbly - around 30 to 45 minutes.

Top with cilantro and serve right away! Serves 8-10.

You can make this dish ahead of time, but I would say at most 4-6 hours ahead. Make it in the morning and re-heat it for your afternoon/evening meal.


Mama's Cocktail Meatballs

Just about every holiday/special occasion at my house is accompanied by these luscious, easy-to-make meatballs. In fact, my sister also made them this year for the fam's Thanksgiving in North Carolina.

1 lb. ground chuck
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 12oz. bottle chili sauce
1 8oz. jar grape jam

Combine the ground chuck, egg, cornstarch, onion, salt and pepper. Shape them into small meatballs. 1 teaspoon per ball = 50 meatballs. Brown in a large skillet and remove the grease.

Combine the chili sauce and grape jam in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir. Drop in the meatballs and cook for 15 minutes. Put top on pan and set aside until you are ready to eat!

Make this a day in advance and refrigerate, and the flavors of the sauce will seep into the core of the meatballs!

Serves 8-10.

a buen tiempo!

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