This holiday side dish is creamy and cheesy with a chipotle kick. Make it in one large dish or go for individual portion sizes in mini dutch ovens. Either way you go, this Southwestern Chipotle Yam Au Gratin is going to bring the flavor to your holiday gatherings.
What you'll need
Whether you are using a large baking dish or individual sized baking dishes you'll need the same things and the same rules apply to both applications.
- large yams, thinly sliced
- heavy cream
- chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
- cotija cheese
- Oaxaca cheese
- chives, for garnish
- salt and pepper
Start by peeling the yams and then thinly slicing them with a mandolin. Using a mandolin makes sure we get uniform thickness in our slices and makes the whole process go a lot faster. Then you can start laying out the yam slices in a single layer in the baking dish. Once you have the first layer, add salt and pepper to it and repeat with the next layer. We want each layer to be nicely seasoned.
Add some cheese
Once the second layer is complete, add a little cotija cheese to the layer so we get that flavor throughout the dish. With our layers complete we can move on to the cream.
Slowly heat the cream and chipotle peppers with adobo sauce in a sauce pan. We're looking to steep these flavors together. Once we start to see the mixture bubbling, take a large spoon and crush up the chipotle peppers into the cream to release all that chipotle flavor. Now strain out the chipotle peppers and add the cream mixture to our baking dish.
Do I have to strain out the chipotle?
No you don't. If you want little chunks of peppers in your au gratin go ahead and leave them in. For what we're doing, we want a smooth texture at the finish. If you do want to leave them in your cream mixture it would be a good idea to chop them up before adding them to the cream so you don't just have a few large chunks of chipotle.
How much cream do I add?
With the chipotle cream ready we can add it to our baking dish. The rule of thumb here is, whatever size of dish you are using, fill it up halfway. Slowly pour over the chipotle cream, once you're halfway up the dish, stop. Sprinkle on some more of the cotija cheese to the top and get it ready for the oven.
Add the baking dish to a preheated 400°F oven until fork tender, the time really depends on the size of the dish you are using. For us it was about 35 minutes, but for larger dishes upwards of 50 minutes will do the trick.
Time for the Oaxaca cheese
Once the yams are fork tender, take them out of the oven and add a layer of Oaxaca cheese. This cheese is going to get nice and caramelized. Place the baking dish back into the oven but leave it uncovered, up the temperature to 450°F, and let that cheese get all nice and toasty. As far as time in the oven, leave it in to the point you reach your desired caramelization.
Once out of the oven, let it cool a bit and then add on some chopped chive for garnish. Time to serve them up! Nothing wrong with candied yams, but this Southwestern Chipotle Yam Au Gratin will be a welcome side at any holiday gathering.
Watch how to make the recipe!
Try these other holiday side dishes!Print
- 4 large yams, thinly sliced
- 16 ounces heavy cream
- 3 chipotle chiles with tablespoon of adobo sauce
- 4 ounces cotija cheese
- 8 ounces Oaxaca cheese
- 3 tablespoons chives, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and thinly slice yams into circles. Using a mandolin will make sure you get uniform slices and make the process go a lot faster.
- Using a large roasting pan, begin layering yams into dish. Season each layer with salt and pepper.
- Next heat the cream with the chipotle chilies and the adobo sauce until you see bubbles start to form, then turn off the flame. Let the flavors steep together for about 10 minutes.
- After steeping, strain the cream mixture to remove the chipotle peppers.
- Pour the cream over the yams until about half way up the roasting pan and then add the cotija cheese.
- Cover the roasting pan with foil and place it on a sheet tray to catch any spill overs that could happen in the oven. Put into a preheated 400°F oven and cook until fork tender. About 50 minutes to an hour.
- Take the yams out of the oven, remove the foil, and add the Oaxaca cheese to the top of the yams. Put back into the oven at 450°F uncovered to caramelize the top. Brown it as much as you like.
- Once caramelized, remove from the oven and garnish with chopped chives.
Chef Tip: When it comes to adding the cream, you want to be able to go halfway up the dish. You may use the full 16 ounces of cream, but you may not. The size of the dish will determine the amount of cream you'll need, a larger dish will require more cream.
As far as how many yams to use? It really depends on the dish you're using as well and also how high you want to make the au gratin. If you're trying to get four or five layers you don't need as large of a roasting pan and in turn won't use as much cream either.
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 50
- Category: side dish