Squash and Hatch Chiles Gratin
Having had a little OCD moment in the summer with Hatch Chili’s I purchased more than my fare share. Emptying the freezer of my sacrilege Hatch Chili’s stash could only be used for that special something. Arriving only once a year the chili's appear and vanish in a flash of light. Only to be used on my food junkie friends for farewell party featuring autumn dishes made this squash and hatch chili’s gratin the star of the show. Having been encouraged by a Food and Wine side dish that uses poblano peppers instead of hatch chili's and a few twists on a typical french gratin the Squash and Hatch Chili Gratin came to fruition.
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Roast the Hatch Chiles directly over a gas flame or under the broiler, turning, until they are charred all over. Transfer the chiles to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let them cool. Peel, stem and seed the chiles, then cut them into thin strips. Or purchase pre-roasted.
Brush the sliced butternut squash or kabocha squash with the olive oil and place the sliced pieces separated on two large rimmed baking sheets. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the herbs de provence and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes, until the squash is tender.
Peel and slice with a mandolin the potatoes toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread out on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes checking to make sure they do not burn.
Increase the oven temperature to 425°.
In a large, deep skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the sliced onion, garlic, oregano and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of herbs de provence and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and translucent. Add the hatch chili strips and cook until tender. Add the heavy cream and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the crème fraîche or sour cream and season the hatch chili mixture with salt and pepper.
Spoon half of the hatch chili mixture into a large baking dish, layer with the squash and potatoes. Cover the squash with half of the Monterey Jack and queso fresco cheeses. Repeat with the remaining hatch chili mixture, squash and potatoes and cheeses. Bake in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, until the gratin is golden and bubbling. Let the gratin rest for 10 minutes. Serve.
Serve with Herb Crusted Lamb and Haricots Verts.
1 1/2 pounds Roasted Hatch Chiles
1 large butternut or 1 Kabocha squash (2 pounds total)—peeled, halved, seeded and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 pounds yellow yukon gold peeled potatoes
6 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons herbs de provence
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup Crème Fraîche or sour cream
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
8 ounces Queso Fresco cheese