The perfect potato ode to Thanksgiving

Yukon Gold Potato cake

Yukon Gold and Sweet Potatoes Anna – Louise Crosby Photo

Yukon Gold and Sweet Potatoes Anna

The fancy potato cake first made famous by Julia Child is a tasty alternative to the standard holiday mash slathered in gravy

By Louise Crosby

Thanksgiving in my extended family has become a huge affair. That’s because we now number 25 people, plus any others who happen to be in the picture. The brave household that offers to host must find enough tables, dishes and cutlery to seat everyone, and usually cooks the main event, in this case a turkey. The rest of us bring appetizers, mashed potatoes and other vegetables, and a few desserts, typically involving pumpkin or apples. Pot luck, it’s the only way to go with a crowd like this.

Notice I said mashed potatoes. Feeling like a change, I offered to make Duchess potatoes this year. Admittedly, these are labour intensive. You start with mashed potatoes but then add egg yolks, cream and butter. This mixture is spooned into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and piped into swirly mounds, which are baked until golden brown, slightly crusty on the outside, soft on the inside, rich and delicious overall.

I was told to go ahead, but that mashed potatoes would still be required to go with the gravy. Since there’s no point having two kinds of potatoes, and there are other things I could be doing, I’m changing direction and will bring steamed green beans or sautéed shredded Brussels sprouts instead. Quick and easy.

But for those adventurous potato lovers who want to shake up tradition and get away from boring, without spending all day in the kitchen, here’s a recipe for easy Yukon Gold & Sweet Potatoes Anna from the Autumn 2014 Food & Drink magazine. This fancy potato cake is an updated version of Pommes Anna which Julia Child made famous in her Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The layer of sweet potato in the middle, and the garlic and sage, make this a perfect ode to Thanksgiving.

Yukon Gold and Sweet Potatoes Anna
4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, about 2 lbs (1 kg), peeled
1 medium sweet potato, about 1 lb (500 g), peeled
½ cup butter, melted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped sage, or less depending on taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Using a mandolin or sharp knife, slice potatoes into ⅛-inch-thick (3-mm) slices. Liberally brush a heavy, 9-inch (23-cm) ovenproof skillet or cast iron pan with butter.
Working in concentric circles, layer one-quarter of the Yukon Gold potatoes over bottom of pan. Brush with additional butter, season with salt and pepper and proceed to layer another quarter of the Yukon Gold slices overtop. Once again brush with butter and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with half the garlic and half the sage.
Arrange a layer of half the sweet potato; brush with butter and season with salt and pepper. Proceed to create a second layer, brush with butter and season once again. Sprinkle with remaining garlic and sage.
Create 2 more layers of Yukon Gold, being sure to brush each with butter and to add seasoning. Place over medium heat on stovetop; once butter begins to sizzle, top pan with round of parchment roughly the same size as the pan (it should just loosely cover potatoes). Remove to oven and cook for 45 to 50 minutes or until potatoes are soft and bottom and edges are golden.
Invert a plate over pan and flip both pan and plate to turnout. Cut into 6 wedges.

Serves: 6

1 Reply to "The perfect potato ode to Thanksgiving"

  • davechesney October 12, 2015 (2:10 pm)

    Butter (lots of it) garlic and potatoes. How can you go wrong. I am adding this one to my “things to do list.” thank you Ex-Press