05 December 2011

Potatoes and Celery Root Gratin to die for....

Ok, I promise there is no dying involved. I had another recipe and post on turkey filled crespelle or crepes, as they are more widely known to most of us recently and due to a computer glitch I ended up with the equivalent of  "the dog ate my homework". That post and recipe has now been shelved temporarily until I can recreate it to satisfaction, harumph!   
However, I stumbled across this variation of what we called scalloped potatoes when I was growing up and knew it was destined to be a hit. Made it last night and it was. The recipe is a hardy amount so we have plenty for a few encore performances, and luckily they are that good, that you won't hear any complaining from either of us. I think they would make a great addition to a holiday meal as the recipe is an ample amount. I would call these exactly Italian, but a couple of adjustments I made like the addition of rosemary to the dish gave it an Italian flavor. Here in the northern realms of Italy we cook a lot of dishes in milk, butter and cream, so it is not that much of a stretch to add it to your repertoire. The original recipe came from Whole Foods, and you can find it here, but naturally I made a few adjustments based on our tastes and necessary substitutions. I suggest you do the same if you like. For me most recipes are a starting point that I may follow slavishly and maybe only be inspired by. I imagine some of you are quite the same. Any way you like it, make this dish and enjoy the comfort of potatoes done proud.

Homely shot of my version of Celery root and potato gratin


adapted from a Whole Foods recipe

Serves 8-12


1/2 T butter (15g)
2 pounds celery root, peeled and thinly sliced
1 3/4 pounds potatoes, floury variety, unpeeled, if they are organic and thinly sliced

2 c milk, low fat (1/2 L)
2 T flour (6g), optional if your potatoes are floury
2 tsp garlic, chopped
2 c yogurt, plain, full fat,(200-250g) my preference, as I make it at home

3/4 c grated cheese, (100g) I used a rich young Toma, you can use a swiss type
1 1/2 c crushed crackers, saltine type or panko-style bread crumbs 
1-2 T fresh rosemary, chopped fine, less if dry
Salt and pepper to taste 

1 T flat-leaf parsley, chopped


Preheat oven to 350°F. 
Butter a 13-x9-inch casserole dish with your 1/2 T butter and set aside. If you ave extra, add it to the mix when assembling.
Whisk together milk, flour, garlic, and season with some salt and pepper in a large pot over medium heat. I used my large tall sided saute pan.
Gently stir in celery root and potatoes, if you are using waxy potatoes and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring frequently and gently, until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.
Add the yogurt at this time and gently stir to mix it all together. Taste and adjust your salt and pepper.
Transfer the potato mixture to your prepared dish and spread out evenly.
Scatter the grated swiss cheese over the top.
Mix your bread crumbs, rosemary and grated parmesan together and scatter over the top to cover.
Bake until tender, bubbly and golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes.
Set aside to let rest for a few minutes minutes.
Garnish with your chopped parsley and serve.

**Cooks notes and suggestions**

There are quite a few recipes on the internet with a variety of suggestions to try.
I like the idea of adding bacon or pancetta for a complete one pan meal with a salad or green vegetable to go with it.
I don't think I will bother with adding the flour next time as our garden variety of potatoes break down and thicken up the dish quite nicely. If you are using waxy potatoes you probably will need the flour.
Since I used the yogurt in place of the cream, I didn't cook it with the vegetables on top of the stove and I didn't have enough liquid to cover the potatoes. I think next time I might just cook the celeriac in the milk and then mix it all up and add the potatoes and yogurt just before adding it all to the baking pan. If you have a larger pan than the one I used, I think you will have more servings and less time in the oven.
I covered mine for the first 20-30 minutes as I have a convection oven that dries everything quickly. I removed it towards the end to brown up the top.
Could easily be assembled a day ahead and baked off the next day.


Jenn @leftoverqueen said...

This looks so nice and hearty for the winter!

Bella Baita View said...

Thanks Jenn for stopping by and commenting. It is a great hearty dish, but would be great for a make ahead, potluck or even a Thanksgiving or Christmas feast.

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