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The Ultimate Thanksgiving Side Dish | Sweet Potato and Bacon Au Gratin

The holiday season is upon us, and that means it’s time to eat some delicious food. Learn how to make Chef Nick Rabar’s favorite side dish, sweet potato and bacon au gratin.

Favorite Side Dish – Sweet Potato & Bacon Au Gratin

Nick Rabar – 00:007 What’s up gang? Welcome to my kitchen and thanks for joining me here on Keep On Cookin. Well, the holidays are upon us, and while they might mean something different to everyone, to me, they mean food. While Turkey is traditionally the star of the show, this year’s page turners are the sides whether it’s buttery mashed potatoes, or grandma’s famous stuffing, everyone has their favorites. But for me, this year’s breakout hit is my sweet potato and bacon au gratin.


00:35 To make this dish, we’re gonna need sweet potatoes Applewood bacon, some beautifully caramelized leeks, heavy cream, gruyere cheese, fontina, parmesan and some fresh chop thyme. We’re going to get started by chopping up some of these sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes can often come with a little bit of a fibrous end. So I’m just going to remove that, cut it in half, and then we’re gonna cut them like a large dice. Leaving the skin on we’re gonna cut these to nice equally sized pieces. Time for these babies to hit the jacuzzi. Alright, we’re going to pop them right in there, starting from cold water. Hit’em with a pinch of kosher salt. Fire it up high heat 20 minutes guys let them do their thing.




Mornay Style Sauce

1:24 Alright guys, next step is going to be to make this rich Mornay style sauce. So I’m going to go in with some heavy cream. We’re going to go in with about three cups. Now we’re going to turn the heat on like medium high because you got to be real careful a not to scorch it be not to let it boil over. While it’s heating up even before it’s boiling, feel the bottom of the pan. You want to make sure that the scorch monster is not peering his ugly head out. Alright, so we’re going to let that simmer we’re going to check our potatoes.


1:59 They are nice and fork tender,  fork tender means you stick a fork in potato jumps off. It’s done. Okay, kill the heat there. Let’s go ahead and strain them. Gonna go right into the colander. And you can see how they’re soft. But they have sort of held up their properties there. We’re gonna let that sit. Strain. Boom. Alright, now that those potatoes are strained, we’re going to start to finish off this Mornay sauce, we got two types of cheeses, fontina and parmesan, we’re going to put just the right amount in. So put in just a little bit of the fontina a little bit of Parmesan, pinch of kosher salt,  now you definitely want to be stirring, okay. All right, that’s looking perfect. Cheeses are in, gets killed.

Mixing Ingredients

2:53 Let’s go put this together. Alright guys, this is where it gets good. We want to mix all these ingredients together before we placed them in the baking vessel. So we’ve pre cooked our sweet potatoes here, which is essential because we can control the doneness of the potato. Now I have my pre-caramelized leeks, which are going to go right into the mix. Bacon, which we’ve touched on but didn’t really talk about beautiful large cut bacon, we don’t want this bacon to be lost. This is a sweet potato and bacon au gratin. Let all that bacon fat drip in there. Pinch of thyme. Right in now, let’s go. Let’s go chasing waterfalls, put in that Mornay sauce. Okay, you want a little bit extra and I’m going to explain to you why in just a minute. So now that all of that is combined, we’re going to mix it, mix all that up beautifully. And now what you’re going to do is you’re going to go into a baking dish of your choosing. I’m using this cast iron pan. It’s actually made right in Providence, Rhode Island by Matt a graduate who owns Nest Homeware he makes incredible cast iron pans. Now, as you see we’re going in, we want this to have nice, a nice amount of cream because we’re not done with the cheese yet. Okay, we’re gonna place this gruyere cheese on top all the way to the edge. And now we’re going to bake it. We’re gonna preheat the oven at 500 degrees. All right, pop it in. High heat. See? So now you got about 15 minutes I’ll go ahead and kill some time

Final Touches

04:52 – Breaks over back to work. Okay guys, so 15 minutes later we’ll take a little peek and you can see how that cream is bubbling around the edges the top has browned sensationally. Alright guys, there it is. We’re gonna finish it with some fresh chop thyme. Little bit more fresh Parmesan. That’s about as good as it gets guys. No matter what you’re making this holiday season make sure you enjoy every second of it. Until we meet again, it’s your old pal Nick Rabar telling you to Keep on Cookin!

Wine Pairing

Nicole Menetski – 05:38 Hey everyone, my name is Nicole Menetski, and I’m here in the Wines and More in Walpole, Massachusetts to tackle another perfect pairing with Chef Nick’s sweet potato and bacon au gratin. This week we chose a wine called Cote Mas from the south of France. The region is the birthplace of French sparklings before champagne even became famous. The wine is 60% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin Blanc 10%, Pinot Noir and 10% a local grape called Mosaic. On the nose you’ll get delicate notes of pear and peach as well as citrus and brioche. All of these notes continue to carry out throughout the palate honing in on the citrus and brioche flavors. The finish is pleasant and leaves your mouth wanting another sip. This wine is light and bright and a perfect palate cleanser in between each bite of creamy au gratin. The acidity of this wine and the bubbles bounce out the fattiness from the bacon and Parmesan. Come on down and give Cote Mas a taste and see for yourself. We hope to see you exploring the many different wine selections we have here at Wines & More in Walpole. Cheers