November 11th, 2013

Root Vegetable Gratin

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Root Vegetable Gratin

As the main CSA season comes to an end I look forward to dishes like this with the CSA Share box ingredients.  You’ll also find beets, turnips, and carrots in your CSA Share box in warmer months.  In the summer I lean towards fresh salads like this, Beets with Escarole and Goat Cheese.  But when the cooler weather hits and all of the delicious root vegetables fill the boxes I can’t wait to eat creative dishes like this.  If you’re signed up for the Winter Share Boxes this dish could quickly become a staple for you!  Any root vegetable works well with this light cream sauce and crispy gruyere cheese flecked crust.  Beets, carrots, turnips, celeriac, radishes, even potatoes or winter squash.  Here I used beets, daikon radish, carrots, and one pink turnip.

Root Vegetable Gratin

The recipe calls for 3 lbs of root vegetables.  I weighed these, but I don’t think my scale works properly.  This is about 3 lbs, I suggest you get out your favorite casserole dish and estimate how many thinly sliced vegetables will just about fill it.  I’ve never really measured when making this recipe and it always works.  If you have a kitchen scale then by all means, weigh your veggies!  Peel and thinly slice all of the roots you are using.  These are about 1/4 inch thick you can slice thinner if desired.  If using beets, accept that everything will be red/purple by the end of this.

Root Vegetable Gratin

Everything gets a quick simmer to soften them up, so it’s best to start a pot of water to boil while you are peeling and slicing.

Root Vegetable Gratin

While the everything is simmering the sauce comes together quickly and is flavored with thyme and lots of black pepper.  This is a simple cream sauce made with whole milk and the butter is optional (I of course used it).  The topping is fresh breadcrumbs, cheese, and olive oil.  Did you know how easy it is to make breadcrumbs??  Make toast, tear into pieces and pulse in a blender.  Seriously, why would you ever buy them?  The gratin I made is also completely gluten free, and gluten free bread crumbs could not be easier to make.  Just use your favorite gluten free bread.

Root Vegetable Gratin

Root Vegetable Gratin

 This might not be the lightest dish, but it is definitely a departure from a typical gratin.  The Gruyere cheese lends a lot of flavor.  It is a little pricier than other cheeses, but is worth the extra money.  I have made this with a mixture of white cheddar and parmesan which works, but it is not the same.  I like to use a wide flat pan, which results in a thinner layer of vegetables and more topping to vegetable ratio.  You can use a deeper pan if desired.

Root Vegetable Gratin

Root Vegetable Gratin

3 lbs mixed root vegetable, peeled, and sliced into 1/8 or 1/4 inch round
3 tablespoons olive oil divided or 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/3 cups whole milk, divided
3 tablespoons flour (or 2 tablespoons All Purpose Gluten Free flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill)
1 1/2 cups finely grated Gruyere cheese, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
salt + pepper to taste
1 Cup Fresh Breadcrumbs (GF if necessary)

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Lightly oil a casserole dish. Bring a salted pot of water to boil.  Add peeled and sliced root vegetables and boil for 7 minutes.  Drain and layer in casserole dish.

While the vegetables are boiling, make the cream sauce.   Over medium heat melt butter or heat olive oil.  Add garlic and cook until starting to brown 1-2 minutes.  Add 1 cup milk and bring to a simmer.  Combine 1/3 cup milk and flour in a small bowl, whisk together to make a paste.  Stir the paste into the hot milk, cook and whisk constantly until sauce thickens, 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat and add 3/4 cup Gruyere cheese, thyme, and salt + pepper.

Mix breadcrumbs, remaining cheese, and olive oil in a bowl.  Pour sauce over vegetables, top with breadcrumbs.  Bake at 400 F for 30-40 minutes, until gratin is bubbling and top is golden.  35 minutes worked perfectly for me.  Cool 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

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