Since learning that root vegetables are full of fiber and very good for our guts, I have made a point of eating a lot of roots both raw and cooked. A recipe in a magazine for “Leeks and Root Vegetable Gratin” caught my eye and I had cut it out and had it on my desk to try. But when I looked at it closer this week I saw that it was just layers of the sliced roots and leeks with some cheddar cheese and herbs in between the layers. That’s it. No liquid. Maybe it would be great but I’ve had a lot of recipes go wrong, even ones in magazines, and this sounded like it could be dry. But I loved the sliced root vegetable and leeks idea so I borrowed that part and then did my own thing and was very pleased with the result.
The roots all blend in flavors very well. It was a surprising much lighter dish than scalloped potatoes with a lovely sweet taste. I think chicken broth will work in place of the cream and I’m planning to give that a go next time.
Scalloped Root Vegetables and Leeks Gratin
The root vegetables need to weight 3 pounds total after they are trimmed and peeled.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts only (slice down the middle, rinse in between all the layers, slice down the middle of each half and slice thinly, removing the dark green parts)
- 2 small routabaga, peeled and cut in 1/8″ slices
- 2 small turnips, peeled and cut in 1/8″ slices
- 2 fat parsnips, peeled and cut in 1/8″ slices
- 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/8″ slices
- 1 medium russet potato, peeled and cut in 1/8″ slices
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage
- 3/4 cup gruyère cheese
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
You will need a 9″ by 13″ casserole that doesn’t curve along the top so that the foil will lay straight and you can get a good seal.
Saute the leeks in the butter for 5 minutes. Place the slices of vegetables into a large bowl. Mix the salt, pepper and sage into the cream and pour over the vegetables along with the leeks. Mix until all the pieces are coated, then arrange the pieces flat the casserole. Seal casserole with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 70 minutes. After 50 minutes, check for tenderness with a fork. When tender, remove the foil and sprinkle with the cheese and the parsley. Run it under the broiler until the cheese is bubbling and turning golden brown. Make sure you watch it because it can burn under the broiler very quickly.