Saturday, 28 November 2009

root vegetable daupinoise (sort of)


after the first excitement of the winter food, i get a bit despondent about the whole thing. i've spent ages at the greengrocer's this afternoon, looking around for something marginally more exciting than purple sprouting broccoli. abel and cole boxes come full of mud.

but this is it - from now until about april, it will be cabbages, squashes and root veg. all of which i like, of course, but they don't give me the same thrill as the first crop of asparagus, the green leaves of wild garlic or baby courgettes.


the fridge is full of roast veg and i am not using it fast enough. i keep making mash, mixing and matching parsnip, swede and celeriac. but i am bored of mash and it doesn't exactly go with everything.

so i had an idea instead, one that can only be executed if you're in possession of a mandolin or a sharp knife, and some double cream. everyone loves dauphinoise potatoes. i couldn't think of a good reason why it wouldn't work with other root vegetables. you slice the veg thinly, layer it with some thyme and chopped garlic, pour over the cream, and that's it. wonderfully creamy, earthy and sweet root veg, with crunchy, caramelised bits around the edges and on top. you could use a lot more cream, of course, and a proper dauphinoise does, but i didn't really fancy that kind of a dish.

in terms of your choice of veg, you need things that cook in about the same amount of time. i choose sweet potato, swede and jerusalem artichoke but you can do it with celeriac, which i think would be pretty amazing, and squash or pumpkin. lots of people don't like jerusalem artichokes so you might want to skip that. i think they're weirdly interesting - every bite is somehow a surprise.

ROOT VEGETABLE DAUPHINOISE
for two

1 sweet potato
1/2 swede
2-3 jerusalem artichokes
100ml cream
a splash of water or stock
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked off
1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
20g butter

preheat the oven to 200C. grease a round 8in tin generously.

scrub the veg, then slice very thinly using a mandolin or a very sharp knife (the latter would be a pain). put overlapping layers of veg into the dish, until you've used about half of what you've sliced. scatter over half of garlic and half of thyme, season, then pour over half of the cream. repeat with the rest of the ingredients. when done, add just a splash of water if it doesn't look like there is enough cream. or use more cream.

put little knobs of butter evenly over the top and bake in the oven for some 40 minutes or until the veg are properly soft when you stick a knife in them and the top is caramelising nicely. check after 15 mins and if it's browning too quickly, cut a disc of greaseproof paper and put it over the top, pushing it down with your hands so it sticks.

3 comments:

  1. thanks! it was nicer than i thought it would be, actually. i might make the full-blown, loads-of-cream version soon. just for the hell of it. mind you, have been eating a bit too much recently...

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  2. Ok today is the day I am going to try this, I shall leave out sweet potaoe tho.
    I hope it comes out as nice as yours lol. yummy.

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