Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Root Vegetable Gratin

I know I've bored you elsewhere with the secrets of a good gratin, so you're spared the lesson this week--linguistic or otherwise. What you get instead (!!) is a delicious baked dish with the earthy flavors of winter. Plus it's pretty, no?

Ok, start with a couple of roots. Peel and julienne them. [Hold up--what? This just means cut them in tiny matchsticks: slice as thin as your trembling knife hand will allow you one way, then stack the slender slices atop one another, and slice cross ways, again, as thin as humanly possible. See exhibit A:]

Saute an onion. Throw it all in a cream sauce you made yourself. Then stir and bake. Really, that easy. You can follow the sauce recipe here, for a cheesy version, or you can go with the straight sauce below. Your call.

Root Vegetable Gratin
serves 2-3, but leftovers are quite good

the veggies:
1 small potato (red, yukon gold, etc. NOT a baking potato), julienned
1 small carrot, julienned
1 medium-sized turnip, julienned
1/2 small onion, sliced thin and lightly sauteed in olive oil
[optional, some blanched, chopped greens of your choice, 1/2 cup or so]

the sauce:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup broth [or just a full cup milk, if you like]
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
1/2 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper

the rest:
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs, tossed in olive oil or melted butter
  1. First, julienne the potato, carrot, and turnip. Because the Internet is omniscient, you can consult it on how precisely to do this. But don't feel like you need to chop as fast as this guy. Toss them in a big bowl with the sauteed onions, greens (if using) and a healthy dose of salt and pepper.
  2. Next, make your cream sauce. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and saute with a pinch of salt until translucent, 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Sprinkle flour over top and stir that around, cooking the flour, for about 2 minutes. Add the milk in 3 additions, whisking really well after each time to get at any clumps of flour. Remove from heat as soon as it boils from the third addition and gets nice and thick. Season with plenty of salt and pepper and pour over vegetables. Stir.
  3. Grease a nice gratin-friendly dish, pour the mixture in and flatten with the back of your spatula. Sprinkle with bread crumbs you've tossed in olive oil or melted butter and mixed with parmesan cheese. [Oh, and if you want to, that slice of bacon you fried and crumbled.] Bake for 35-40 minutes at 375ยบ.


  1. Abby,

    This dish was delicious!! Our whole family loved it except for Brynn (2), but Jo (4) thought it was a winner AND that says a lot! Thanks for all your wonderful recipes. I enjoy your blog.

    *we used a rutabaga in place of the potato

    (Leslie's sister)

  2. Angela,
    Leslie talks about you all the time! Great to hear from you! I'm so glad you've been finding things you like around here.