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This recipe is quite time consuming, but well worth it as a side for turkey, roast pork etc. on a special occasion and can be prepared well in advance and reheated. Came from the Ottawa Citizen newspaper.
For the topping
- 1 1⁄2 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- kosher salt (coarse)
- 3⁄4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leave
For the gratin
- 1⁄4 cup butter
- 2 cups sliced leeks, thoroughly washed (white and light green parts of 3 medium sized leeks)
- kosher salt (coarse)
- 2⁄3 cup apple cider, plus
- 3 tablespoons apple cider
- 1⁄2 cup heavy cream, plus
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- fresh ground black pepper
- 2 crisp firm apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 12 ounces butternut squash, from the neck
- 2 sliced yukon gold potatoes
- Make the topping: Combine the crumbs, melted butter and a pinch of salt in a bowl.
- Mix in the cheddar and thyme.
- Prepare the gratin: Heat the oven to 350.
- Rub a shallow 2 quart gratin dish with butter.
- Cook the leeks: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Add leeks and a big pinch of salt.
- Cook, stirring frequently, until well softened and lightly browned, 10-15 minutes.
- Add 2/3 cup cider and simmer 2 minutes to reduce slightly.
- Add 1/2 cup cream, the chopped thyme, a pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper, and stir well.
- Set aside.
- Cook the apples: In a large non-stick skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat.
- Turn the heat to medium high, add the apple slices and cook, gently flipping and stirring, until most of the slices are browned and limp, but not falling apart, about 10 minutes.
- Add the remaining 3 tablespoons cream and 3 tablespoons cider.
- Stir and let the liquids reduce slightly for a few seconds; remove from heat.
- Assemble and bake the gratin: Peel the squash neck, cut into quarters lengthwise, and cut them across into thin slices.
- In a large bowl, combine the squash slices, the potato slices, the leek mixture, the apple mixture (scrape the pans well), and a scant 2 teaspoons salt.
- Using a rubber spatula, mix gently but thoroughly.
- Scrape the mixture into the prepared gratin dish.
- Cover with the breadcrumb topping.
- Bake until the crust is deep golden brown and the squash and potato are tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour.
- Let rest for 15-20 minutes before serving.