Don't limit traditional pie spices—clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg—to the dessert table. In this cheesy, rich gratin, the spices take a savory note alongside kale, sweet potatoes, and sharp white cheddar.
- 5 tbsp. butter
- 3 cloves garlic
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
- 3 large sweet potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds) peeled and sliced about 1/8" thick
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Fresh nutmeg
- 1 cup grated white cheddar
Preheat oven to 400°. Rub the inside of an 8"×8" baking dish with 1 tbsp. of the butter. Smash garlic with the side of a knife and sprinkle generously with salt. Chop and scrape the garlic into a mushy paste.
Combine garlic paste, kale, potatoes, half-and-half, cinnamon and remaining 4 tbsp. butter (cut into 1⁄2" pieces) in a pot; stir. Season with salt and pepper and taste the creamy liquid—it should be seasoned generously. Grate in a hint of nutmeg. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat while stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon. After 8–10 minutes the potatoes will be a little tender, and their starch will have thickened the liquid considerably.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish; smooth the top as much as possible. Cover the gratin with cheddar and bake until deeply golden brown, about 20–30 minutes. Let gratin cool and set a little before serving.