Thanksgiving Recipe: Sweet Potato Gratin

Evening Star Cafe Executive Chef Jim Jeffords offers his Turkey Day side dish recipe.

With Thanksgiving coming up Thursday, many folks around Del Ray are looking for a special recipe to liven up their Turkey Day feast.

Jim Jeffords, the executive chef at Evening Star Cafe, offered up his recipe for Sweet Potato Gratin that’s currently on the menu at the Star: 

Sweet Potato Gratin
Evening Star Cafe Executive Chef Jim Jeffords
Serves 6


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 4 cups of whole milk
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 Large bunch of kale, cleaned and diced and removed an inch from the stem
  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • Salt an pepper to season
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • Olive oil


  1. First make a simple béchamel sauce for the gratin by melting the butter in a saucepan on medium low heat.
  2. Add the flour, stirring constantly until it starts to bubble.
  3. Add milk continually whisking as the sauce thickens. Bring to a boil.
  4. Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
  5. Let simmer on low heat for a half hour until it is a thick sauce consistency and has a nutty smell.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Cut the head of garlic in half horizontally so the cloves are cut in half.
  8. Rub olive oil on the cloves side.
  9. Wrap in foil.
  10. Take the peeled sweet potatoes that are sliced thinly in rounds and toss with vegetable oil, salt and pepper.
  11. Lay on a sheet tray.
  12. Place both the sweet potatoes and the foil wrap of garlic in to the oven to roast. 
  13. Pull the garlic out after 20 minutes and let rest.
  14. Remove the sweet potatoes after 30 minutes.
  15. Meanwhile, sauté garlic in a little olive oil until it starts to brown lightly.
  16. Add the kale and cook down. 
  17. Remove garlic from the foil and squeeze so the cloves will fall out.
  18. Mash the cloves with the back of a fork until it is a paste like mixture.


Using a casserole dish, make one layer of sweet potatoes covering the bottom of the dish. Next, take half the kale and layer over top the potatoes and then sprinkle the roast garlic mixture on top of the kale. Next, pour half of the béchamel sauce over the dish and then sprinkle half the grated parmesan cheese. Repeat this once more. For some added crunch, you can top the last layer of parmesan with some bread crumbs. This can be assembled ahead of time and kept in refrigerator two days ahead. When ready to enjoy, pop in the oven at 350 degrees until golden, brown and delicious.

Have any recipes to share? Post them in the comments.

Vicki November 20, 2012 at 04:06 PM
This sounds delicious recipe! But I am having some trouble following the recipe. Rub the olive oil on the exposed/cut side of the garlic head? Saute what garlic? If you are letting the roasted head of garlic that is wrapped in foil rest -- what is there to saute? Also, I think one should remove the stems from the kale before dicing it. Could you clarify?
vineeta anand November 20, 2012 at 04:33 PM
I agree with you that removing the stems from kale makes a big difference. I was also puzzled about the need to saute garlic if it is already roasted. Clarifications would be good. Also, I'd like to know the calorie count, please. Thanks.
Drew Hansen November 20, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Just received this clarification: "So when you cut the garlic horizontally in half, the cloves will be split and you are just rubbing a little olive oil on there for the roasting process. When you are sautéing the garlic for the kale, you are using raw garlic from the other half that you did not roast. Yes, you should remove the kale from the stems after cleaning it and then dicing it."


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