Potato, pumpkin & cheese steak gratin
Colourful layers of sweet orange pumpkin, cheese steaks and potato, baked in cream and vegetable stock. A gorgeous vegetarian Christmas dish.
500g or 1/2 small pumpkin/butternut squash
2 cloves garlic crushed
300 ml double/heavy cream
10-15 scrapes whole nutmeg
6 fresh sage leaves finely chopped
600g/4 medium potatoes
2 packs of Alfresco cheese steaks
Romaine salad with apple cider vinaigrette
1 head romaine lettuce
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
100ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil
For the gratin
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Peel, halve and deseed the squash, adding all the trimmings to a medium saucepan. Add the crushed garlic and 600g water, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the stock to remove the squash trimmings, pressing with a spatula to extract the most flavour – you will be left with about 400ml stock. Add the cream, nutmeg, sage and ½ teaspoon flaky salt and plenty of pepper – the sauce should be flavourful and fairly salty.
While the stock is simmering, thinly slice the pumpkin, potatoes and cooked cheese steaks. Starting with a little sauce, layer potatoes, pumpkin and cheese steaks, separating each layer with a couple more tablespoons of sauce – keep the pieces overlapping but fairly loose so the liquid will be able to penetrate. Finish with a layer of pumpkin and a covering of sauce – make sure there is at least 1cm left at the top to allow for bubbling up. Cover with foil and bake for 40-50 minutes, until the vegetables feel tender when poked with a knife. Remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes to brown the top. Grind on a generous helping of pepper and rest for 10 minutes before serving.
For the salad
You can whisk the dressing ingredients together by hand, but if you prefer a creamy, emulsified dressing, a food processor or blender is best. Start with the mustard, vinegar, ½ teaspoon flaky salt and lots of pepper, then add the oil in a drizzle – blend until the dressing is thick and smooth.