Butternut Squash, Apple, and Potato Gratin with Cheddar Crumb Topping

What kind of dishes fill your table on Thanksgiving? Do you stick to tried and true family recipes for classics like turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce or do you branch out, putting a modern twist on traditional dishes and injecting a little more variety in the meal?

Butternut Squash, Apple, and Potato Gratin with Cheddar Crumb Topping

For the most part we keep things pretty traditional at my house (technically my mom’s since she hosts, but you know what I mean). I love knowing what we’re going to eat before I even arrive and I look forward to those dishes, they’re always delicious! But I won’t lie – from time to time I like to mix things up a little and bring something unexpected. There were the Brussels sprouts one year and ginger pumpkin braid another (excuse the horrible photo). Both were unexpectedly very popular so that just encourages me to keep surprising people :)

Butternut Squash, Apple, and Potato Gratin with Cheddar Crumb Topping

Butternut Squash, Apple and Potato Gratin with Cheddar Crumb Topping is making a strong case to be this year’s surprise. Individually the components are familiar but they’re not often paired together in this way. It’s been forever since I made a gratin and this dish reminded me how wonderful they can be – the contrasting texture of the tender apples, potatoes and squash slices in the filling with the crunchy, cheesy topping was my favorite. There’s a hint of sweetness to the flavor thanks to the apples, squash, and apple cider but it’s nicely balanced by the savory potatoes, onions, thyme, and cheddar cheese. This gratin is definitely worthy of a spot on any Thanksgiving table.

Butternut Squash, Apple, and Potato Gratin with Cheddar Crumb Topping

Today I’m teaming up with some of my favorite bloggers to bring you this gratin as part of a Thanksgiving potluck. We talk about wonderful food every day on our blogs, and while our tables will be full on Thanksgiving, we recognize it’s a stressful time for others. We know we’re all so fortunate not to have to worry about where our next meal will come from but many in America aren’t nearly as lucky. Hunger is an issue for 1 in 6 people, and that’s why the work of an organization like Feeding America is so important. Feeding America is the nation’s leading hunger-relief charity, and through their nationwide network of food banks, they’re fighting to end hunger. They’re doing really great work; if you’d like to donate or offer assistance through the gift of your time, you can find more information on their site.

Butternut Squash, Apple, and Potato Gratin with Cheddar Crumb Topping

To help spread awareness (and because it is the holiday season), we also teamed up with two great companies, Anolon and Wusthof to offer some great prizes to two of you!

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Looking for more Thanksgiving Day recipe ideas? My friends have you covered with these great dishes!
Erin from Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts made Pumpkin Pie
Erin from Texanerin Baking made Dulce de Leche Apple Streusel Bars
Caroline from Chocolate & Carrots made Sweet Potato Biscuits with Cranberry Jam
Katrina from In Katrina’s Kitchen made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
Christina from Dessert for Two made Mini Pumpkin Pies
Sally from Sally’s Baking Addiction made Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Mini Cheesecakes
Georgia from The Comfort of Cooking made Spiced Caramel-Apple Crumb Bars
Rachel from Rachel Cooks made Brussels Sprout Salad with Apples and Cranberries
Kate from Diethood made Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie
Gina from Running to the Kitchen made Green Beans with Cranberries, Bacon, & Goat Cheese
Carla from Carla’s Confections made Spinach Mashed Potatoes
Carolyn from All Day I Dream About Food made Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
Liz from The Lemon Bowl made Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake made Spinach Salad with Pears, Cranberries and Candied Pecans
Kim from Cravings of a Lunatic made Mini Apple Pies
Megan from Wanna Be A Country Cleaver made Roasted Potatoes with Bacon Parmesan Vinaigrette

Butternut Squash, Apple, and Potato Gratin with Cheddar Crumb Topping
adapted from Fine Cooking

Topping
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 oz (3/4 cup) grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Gratin
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 cup diced onion (about 1 medium)
2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup apple cider, divided
3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 Braeburn apples (or other firm, crisp variety) (about 14 oz total), peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
12 oz butternut squash (neck portion only)
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (12 oz total)

To make the topping: In a medium bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, melted butter, and a pinch of kosher salt until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Add the cheese and thyme and mix until evenly distributed.

To make the gratin: Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to a small nonstick pan and set over medium heat. When the butter has melted and the pan is hot, add the onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened and started to brown, about 10-12 minutes. Add 2/3 cup of the apple cider to the pan, and simmer for 2 minutes to reduce slightly. Stir in 1/2 cup of the heavy cream, the thyme leaves, a pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper. Stir to combine then set aside.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to a large nonstick skillet and set over medium heat. When the butter has melted and the pan is hot, increase the heat to medium high and add the sliced apples. Cook for about 10 minutes, gently stirring and flipping occasionally, until the apples are tender and browned, but not falling apart. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of apple cider and the remaining 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Cook for just a few seconds, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

To assemble: Peel the butternut squash and cut the neck into quarters lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices (a mandoline is the easiest way to do this, but if you don’t have one you can do it with a knife too). Peel the potatoes and cut then in half, then cut each half into 1/8-inch thick slices (again, with a mandoline if possible). Add the squash and potato slices to a large bowl, then add the onion mixture, the apple mixture, and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt. Gently toss until well combined.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer. Distribute the topping evenly over the filling.

Bake until the topping is a dark golden brown color, and the juices around the edge of the pan have mostly stopped bubbling. If you used a shallow baking dish, this should take about 60-75 minutes, but if you chose a deeper baking dish, it may take longer (my dish was very deep and took about 1 hour and 45 minutes). I grabbed a spoonful from the edge of the pan and checked a few potatoes just to make sure they were tender as I found they took the longest to cook through.

Remove the pan and let the gratin sit for 15-20 minutes before serving (it needs that time for the juices to settle and thicken slightly).

Disclosure: Analon and Wusthof are sponsoring the giveaway, but I was not compensated for this post.