When I was asked to create a recipe to help showcase Castello Cheese to promote their Unlock Your Inner Chef Sweepstakes and the release of the new movie Burnt, I couldn’t wait to head into the farmhouse kitchen and get started. I love blue cheese. In fact, it might be my favorite type of cheese. I also love a good movie, especially if it involves food. Many of my favorite films highlight the ability of food to feed the soul and rebuild the spirit.
The movie Burnt opened in theaters last week. It tells the tale of a chef played by Bradley Cooper who loses his way while working in Paris. As the movie progresses, his character finds himself and self-redemption in the food that he creates. The food is a worthy co-star in the film, with beautifully crafted dishes appearing on the plate.
The cuisine featured in the film is classical French, so I wanted to create a modern, farmhouse style approach for a recipe that appears in the film. After carefully considering my options, I decided to put my seasonal New England spin on the Pommes Anna with Extra Cream Danish Blue Cheese showcased in the movie.
I first came to know the classic preparation for Pommes Anna through my culinary idol Julia Child. She describes the dish in her epic tome Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume Two. She introduces the recipe by sharing that it was “created during the era of Napoleon III and named, as were many culinary triumphs in those days, after one of the grande cocotte of the period.” I can almost hear Julia’s trilling voice telling the tale. Legend has it that Pommes (potatoes) Anna was indeed named after a beautiful young woman who visited the palace’s court during the reign of Napoleon III.
The traditional dish is a delicate preparation of waxy potatoes and clarified butter. I wanted to stay true to the spirit of the classic dish while featuring the best of what is in season this time of year. Local white potatoes are available, but I couldn’t help thinking of beautiful sweet potatoes. I had a hunch that I could prepare sweet potatoes in the classic style of Pommes Anna but cooked simply in a cast iron skillet. It seemed like the perfect combination of classic French technique and rustic farmhouse cooking.
The resulting dish is delicious and beautiful. It is full of the earthy flavor of sweet potatoes and accented by the butter and herbs layered between the thin slices. The cast iron skillet provides even heat, producing a beautiful dish that is cooked through yet retains its shape and looks stunning on the plate.
The Castello Cheese Danish Blue Cheese Crumbles sprinkled on top provides the perfect bright accent for the sweet potatoes. The creamy, tangy texture and flavor transform this dish from delicious to spectacular. I hope that you’ll enjoy serving this stunning dish to your friends and family as much as I do. It’s so delicious that it might just make an appearance on our Thanksgiving table this year.
I also hope that you’ll visit Castello’s Burnt campaign page to enter their Unlock Your Inner Chef Sweepstakes. You’ll find a collection of delicious recipes from the film and great prizes including a private cooking class for two and a year’s worth of Castello cheese. I entered and hope that you will too!
1840 Farmhouse Style Sweet Potatoes (Pommes) Anna
Serves 4-6 as a side dish
I like to prepare this recipe in my 12 inch cast iron skillet. It can also be cooked in a large skillet that can withstand the 425 degree heat of the oven. The classic preparation of this dish calls for the potatoes to be peeled, but I prefer to leave the peel on my sweet potatoes. I like to incorporate the beautiful contrast in color and nutritional benefits of the skins into the finished dish. If you prefer, the potatoes can be peeled. The results will be equally delicious.
4 pounds medium sized sweet potatoes
4 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons fresh minced herbs (rosemary, thyme, and sage)
Castello Cheese Danish Blue Cheese crumbles
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the sweet potatoes into slices that are approximately 1/8” thick. Mince the fresh herbs and set aside.
Heat the large skillet over medium low heat. Add the butter and cook until completely melted. Remove the skillet from the heat and pour the butter off into a small bowl. Using a heat safe brush, fully coat the bottom and sides of the pan with melted butter to prevent the potatoes from sticking.
Arrange a layer of the sweet potato slices on the bottom of the skillet, overlapping to fully cover the skillet’s surface. Brush the layer with the melted butter before seasoning with a sprinkling of the minced herbs and a bit of salt and pepper. Add a second layer of sweet potato slices to fully cover the first layer. Brush the second layer with melted butter and season with herbs, salt, and pepper. Continue layering until all of the potatoes are used. Brush the top layer with butter and sprinkle the remaining herbs on top. Season with salt and pepper.
Butter one side of a piece of aluminum foil large enough to fully cover the pan. Place the foil buttered side down on top of the potatoes. Place another slightly smaller oven safe skillet on top of the foil. The weight of the smaller skillet will help to hold the layers of sweet potatoes in place and help the dish to retain its shape as it cooks.
Place the dish in the warm oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven. At this point, the top skillet can be removed and the foil can be carefully peeled back using a spatula if necessary to separate it from the top layer of sweet potato slices.
Return the pan to the oven and bake uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes. When finished, the potatoes should be tender yet hold their shape. They will begin to take on a beautiful caramelized color as they finish baking.
Remove the pan from the oven. Cut into wedges and serve topped with a sprinkling of Castello blue cheese. The heat from the sweet potatoes will melt the cheese, creating a beautiful and delicious dish that you’ll be proud to serve at your family table.
This post was sponsored by Castello Cheese. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share new brands and products with our readers. 1840 Farm abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. Compensation received from sponsors will not influence the topics or posts made on this blog. Sponsored posts will be clearly labeled as such. Product reviews will include our honest opinions about the product(s) reviewed. Products that do not meet our standards of daily use on our farm will not be reviewed. Samples of the products that I review (or reimbursements) are sent to me at no expense in order to allow me to use the product and evaluate its performance. The framework of our review process does not guarantee a positive review in exchange for the product provided. Our product reviews contain both facts about the product and my personal opinion of its performance while it was used at 1840 Farm.
This post is included in our 1840 Farmhouse Thanksgiving Gallery.
You’ll find our favorite Thanksgiving recipes all gathered in one place so that you can easily include them in your family’s celebration. I’ll be adding new recipes right up until the big day, so check back to see even more delicious and fabulous Thanksgiving posts.