Chestnut Mushroom Gratin


serves 4
1 1/2 pound small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in half
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 pound chestnut mushrooms, quartered
1/4 pint dry white wine
3 1/2 fl ounce creme fraiche
1 tsp chopped thyme
salt and pepper
3 tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs
5 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1. Cook the sweet potatoes in boiling salted water 15 - 20 minutes until just tender, drain. Leave to cool, then cut into 1/4 inch slices; set aside.

2. Melt half the butter in a large skillet. When it is foaming, add half the mushrooms and fry over a high heat for 2 - 3 minutes, then remove from the pan and set aside. Fry the rest of the mushrooms in the remaining butter.

3. Add the wine to the pan, bring to the boil and leave to bubble until reduced by half, then add the creme fraiche and let bubble for 2 - 3 minutes. Return the mushrooms to the pan, add the chopped thyme and season with salt and pepper. Mix well, then transfer to a 1.4 litre (2 1/2 pint) ovenproof dish.

4. Arrange the sweet potatoes around the edge in an overlapping layer. Mix together the breadcrumbs and Parmesan and scatter over the potatoes. Bake at 190°C (170°C fan oven) for 15 minutes or until thoroughly hot. Serve with a green salad.


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