This scalloped sweet potato casserole with bechamel sauce and candied walnuts is a little fancier than my usual stuff.
In my defense (I was raised by attorneys, of course I have a defense), I made it for Thanksgiving last year and you can’t hold back when it comes to that holiday. Nope, you gotta have all the bells and whistles because people have high expectations when it comes to this particular meal, and I refuse to be the one who disappoints the masses.
Last year, I was assigned the sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving, which excited me to no end, mainly because I always get the green veggies, and while those babies are near and dear to my heart, I am not a one trick pony. In fact, I’m not a pony at all, even if my tiny human rides roughshod over me; only on Fridays though. I win the rest of the week.
In any event, I prefer my sweet potatoes savory. Tradition dictates otherwise though, and I knew there was a fairly good chance I might let down some folks who were used to the customary and overtly sweet, marshmallow filled combination called sweet potato casserole.
I simply couldn’t bring myself to make that concoction of candy though, not because of the caloric makeup either. You know I don’t waste mental energy on that stuff. There’s just something a little too obvious and cheap about that dish, like a bad porno with a serious plot and characters named Senator Blowhard. Basically, it’s not my thing.
Cheese on the other hand, well now that’s something I can get on board with. In fact, potatoes and cheese are two of my favorite things so I decided to pair them together in this kinky twist on a classic casserole. To keep the crowds happy, I made a light and lovely bechamel sauce sweetened with cinnamon, nutmeg and raisins. I tossed it with the scalloped sweet potatoes and topped the entire thing with my own candied walnuts.
Needless to say, and yet I will anyway, this casserole is picture perfect and damn delectable too. It’s light and sweet without being overpowering or using a lick of sugar or a single chemically created marshmallow. It’s also much easier to create than it sounds. Plus, it’ll make people think you’re fancy and give you street cred.
Don’t worry though. Your secret is safe with me…
Senator Blowhard; if that is your real name.
- 5 to 6 large Sweet Potatoes, sliced thinly
- 5 Tbsp. Butter
- 5 Tbsp. Flour
- 3 cups Milk of choice (I used plain Almond Milk)
- 5 ounces Goat Cheese
- 2 ounces Brie
- 4 ounces Mozzarella Cheese
- 4 ounces Mascarpone
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 1/2 tsp. White Pepper
- 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon, plus more to taste
- 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
- 3/4 Raisins
- 3/4 cup Candied Walnuts*
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a mid-sized saucepan over medium heat, melt 5 Tbsp. of butter. Once the butter has melted, reduce the heat to low and then add flour, one tablespoon at a time, using a whisk or a fork until the flour has been fully absorbed. It’ll resemble a paste.
- Slowly add in your milk, stirring until fully incorporated with butter/flour mixture. Your sauce will be quite thin at this point. Add in the cheese and all of the spices (from the salt to the nutmeg) and continue to stir until cheese has melted and mixture has thickened. If your sauce is too thick, you can gradually add more milk. Alternatively if sauce is too thin, you can add more cheese. Taste your sauce and adjust seasonings as necessary. Once your sauce is to your liking, add in the raisins.
- In a greased 2.5 quart casserole dish, place sliced potatoes flat side down, alternating with scoops of cheese sauce. I lay out one layer of potatoes, then one scoop of cheese sauce, one layer of potatoes, one scoop sauce until I’m completely out of both. The cheese sauce should be your final layer. Note: The sauce should be spread over each of the layers, although it won’t cover everything. It’s okay because as it cooks it will melt and manage to fill the nooks and crannies you missed.
- Bake covered for 45 minutes and then uncovered for 15 more minutes until top is golden brown, and you can easily piece the potatoes with a fork.
- Spread candied walnuts over the top and serve.
- *You can purchase candied walnuts or you can use my recipe for oven roasted candied nuts here: http://cleaneatsfastfeets.com/2015/11/11/must-have-oven-roasted-candied-walnuts/. If you use my recipe, I recommend making them ahead of time and making a double batch because you're going to eat a bunch of them as is.
- **This is one of those dishes which comes together quickly, so I like to have my ingredients prepped before I even start cooking. I prep the cheese, measure out the milk and combine all the spices in a small cup. Last, I peel and finely slice the potatoes (a mandolin would work well if you are fortunate enough to own one).
What is your favorite dish at Thanksgiving? Are you a fan of the classic sweet potato casserole? How about bad porno movies?