Barden’s Bites: Root Vegetable Gratin from Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen





Nigel Barden writes: "Rachel Allen is part of the family who run Ballymaloe House, the excellent country house hotel based in Shanagarry, Co. Cork and the internationally famous cookery school that's attached to it.

"Rachel is an inspiration for home cooks, as her recipes are very straight forward yet utterly delicious. She's a big advocate of using leftovers and can normally get an extra two or three meals out of a Sunday roast chicken, to keep the family going the following week. She also suggests we cook cheaper cuts of meat, such as lamb’s neck and opt for less popular, but equally tasty fish, such as whiting, Pollock and ling. Many dishes can be prepared to a certain point and then stored in a fridge or freezer, until cooking at the last moment. Rachel is adamant that buying local, seasonal produce is crucial and her vegetable gratin will sustain us throughout the winter months. It's also ever so easy to make and extremely tasty.

"Something with a little bit of edge is needed to cut through the creamy richness of the gratin and I suggest you pair it up with a Kiwi Pinot Gris from Dashwood in Marlborough (£11.99). It's the same grape variety as Pinot Grigio and manifests itself here as a ripe apple and pear mouthful with an enticing, zesty nose."


Root Vegetable Gratin
by Rachel Allen from Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen (Harper Collins)

There is an open secret to making gratins taste divine – adding cream and plenty of it! I like to combine carrots, parsnips and celeriac for their distinctive flavour and contrasting colours. Serve as a rich accompaniment to roast chicken or with grilled or roast lamb; it also makes a delicious meal in itself.

Serves 6-8 as a side dish (4 as a main)
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 1hr


Ingredients
600g (1lb 5oz) carrots, peeled (450g/1lb peeled weight)
600g (1lb 5oz) parsnips, peeled (450g/1lb peeled weight)
600g (1lb 5oz) celeriac, peeled (400g/14oz peeled weight)
500ml (18fl oz) double or regular cream
250ml (9fl oz) milk
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
25g (1oz) butter, diced

20 x 30cm (8 x 12 in) ovenproof dish

Method
 
1. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F) / gas mark 6.
2. Slice the carrots, parsnips and celeriac into bite-sized rounds or pieces about 3mm (⅛ in) thick, then mix together in a large bowl.
3. Pour the cream and milk into a large saucepan and add the garlic.
4. Place on a medium heat and bring to a simmer, then pour the hot liquid over the vegetables and mix together thoroughly.
5. Season with salt and pepper and tip the mixture into the ovenproof dish.
6. Cover with foil, then place in the oven to bake for 40 mins.
7. Take the dish out of the oven and remove the foil.
8. Dot the vegetables with the butter and bake for a further 20 mins or until the vegetables are tender and golden on top.
9. Remove and serve immediately.

Nigel's Top Tip:
 
• If you'd like to add a few more layers of flavour, whack in a dollop of grain mustard, and/or ground cinnamon, nutmeg or turmeric, but don't overdo it. Grated leftover hard cheese would also find a happy home here.
 


 
Cookery teacher and home cook Rachel Allen returns with clever ideas, simple shortcuts and plenty of practical advice for achieving simple, wholesome and nutritious meals day after day. Rachel’s Kitchen ties in to 13-part primetime television.

This stunning, fully photographed cookbook includes over 100 tried-and-tested new recipes from bestselling cook Rachel Allen. 
 
 
 
Available on amazon.  
 


 
Main image by Isabelle @ Crumb
 
 

Written by: Nigel Barden

Nigel Barden 

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