I love, Love, LOVE this time of the year. It’s slowly starting to get chillier in Seattle and the leaves are changing their colors. I’ve been slacking on my half marathon training lately–not really pushing myself to follow a running schedule and not mixing in long runs. Did I mention that the half marathon is in 10 days?!?!?! I am the proverbial slacker when it comes to training for a run. I get super excited the few weeks after I sign up for the race, then I lose steam, then I panic 2-3 weeks before the race. I should also mention that I have only participated in one other half marathon, but you would think I would have learned my lesson by now! Oh well, yesterday I had one of those runner moments…where the weather is crisp, it is sunny, and you feel like you can run forever. I don’t know what got into me, but I was able to beat my personal record and keep a fast clip for over 10 miles. Do you know what my first thought was when I got home? FOOD.
I have been craving rich, cheesy, creamy goodness since that run. And man does this dish deliver on the DECADENT and DELICIOUS demand.
Gruyere cheese and heavy cream. Need I say more? This is a twist on the traditional scalloped potatoes or potato gratin. I enjoy the earthy, somewhat sweet taste of parsnips and they have a great nutritional value: the parsnip root is high in Potassium and Vitamin C! But I will not pretend like this is a healthier version, since I do not skimp on the cream or cheese in this gratin. You can make this dish with all parsnips if you want to minimize the calories, since parsnips are a lower-calorie alternative to potatoes. If you plan to do so, then use 3 large parsnips instead of the combo mentioned below.
Whatever you do don’t substitute the heavy cream for milk. The gratin will have too much liquid and will not have that rich taste you are expecting. Just revel in the gluttony after enjoying a serving or two of this gratin. I am not ashamed to admit that I went back for seconds, then picked a few bites out of the casserole dish, and even licked the serving spoon clean before washing the dishes. Andrew threatened to take pictures of all those moments to put on this blog post. I think you’d rather see pictures of the finished product:
I hope you enjoy this recipe, as much as I do :) It is a great addition to the holiday table, a crowd-pleaser when you are entertaining, or just a treat for crisp and cozy day.
Note: You can substitute thyme for the rosemary and parmesan, fontina, or white cheddar cheese for the gruyere/swiss. Feel free to play around with the herbs and cheese.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
1 large parsnip
1 large russet potato
1 small yellow onion, sliced
3 oz gruyere or swiss cheese, grated (~1 heaping cup)
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 T all purpose flour
1 t ground nutmeg
1 T fresh rosemary, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400F and grease a baking dish with butter.
- Wash and peel the parsnip and potato. Using a mandolin or sharp knife, slice the vegetables very thin.
- In a sauce pan, over medium-high heat combine heavy cream, garlic, nutmeg, rosemary, flour, salt and pepper. Whisk until heated through and the creamy sauce thickens.
- Spread 1/2 the potato, parsnip, and onion mixture on the bottom of your baking dish. Leave the larger pieces of parsnip and potato for the top layer. Sprinkle with 1/2 the cheese. Press down firmly.
- Layer the other 1/2 of the vegetables on top. Pour the heavy cream sauce over the dish and tilt the pan so that all corners/crevices are covered in cream. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
- Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Remove foil after 30 minutes of baking so that top of the gratin is golden.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving. This will allow vegetables to absorb more cream and the sauce to settle.