The best sweet potatoes as turkey partners are the deep orange kind. Long, relatively slender ones are ideal because they are easy to peel and hold their shape when sliced.
And that makes them gratin-ready. Just send them out layered like scalloped potatoes. And instead of sugaring them to compete with cranberry sauce, let them hold their own against turkey and stuffing, not to mention lots of gravy.
Fresh thyme is the perfect herbal partner. It has a grassy liveliness that perks up the underlying flavor. For a jazzier effect, try garlic and chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. The intense sweet taste of the potatoes can stand up to the aggressive seasonings, and the flavor is literally tripled.
From the story: Choosing sides? Why not have both?
Generously butter a 2-quart gratin dish and set aside. Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Peel the sweet potatoes. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, cut into slices one-fourth-inch thick. Arrange the slices in overlapping layers in the dish, seasoning each layer generously with salt and pepper.
Combine the cream and thyme in a small bowl and mix well. Pour evenly over the potatoes, coating all exposed surfaces. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake 45 minutes.
Remove the foil; continue baking until the sweet potatoes are soft and caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes longer.
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