Well-Rooted Gratin

September 28, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Serves 8 - start with a small serving
Author Notes

I love root vegetables for the variety of presentations that come with them. Here I've layered sweet potatoes, parsnips, and carrots. They're similar in texture, so they'll cook evenly, their colors alternate nicely, and they all have a similar level of sweetness that marries well with the onion-shallot-leek jam and the cream. —boulangere

What You'll Need
  • 4 ounces butter
  • White parts of 4 leeks, split, washed
  • 2 shallots, fine dice
  • 2 yellow onions, fine dice
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine or good stock
  • Soft butter
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 4 parsnips
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 cups Panko
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • Sea or kosher salt
  • 1 cup grated cheese of your choice
  1. First, start the onion jam. Slice the leeks about 1/4" thick. Fine dice the onions and shallots. Mince the garlic. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add everything you just chopped up along with a sprinkle of salt. When the vegetables have begun to wilt, add the white wine or stock. Turn heat to a simmer and cook until most of the liquid has reduced to a thick-ish syrup and all the tender vegetables have turned into a sweet, smooth jam which will top the gratin. While waiting for the transformation, go ahead and prepare your baking dish and the rest of the vegetables.
  2. Run a pastry brush over some soft butter and brush it on the inside of an 8"x8" shallow baking dish. I use one that's about 2 inches deep. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Peel all the vegetables. Begin slicing them quite thin - about 1/8" I like to slice them on a very acute angle for dramatic long, thin slices. See photo #1.
  4. Now begin layering the vegetables. Start with the sweet potatoes. Lay the slices snugly against each other. Cover them with a layer of Panko, some salt and pepper, and finally drizzle 1/2 cup of cream over. Next, do the same with the parsnip slices, again followed by Panko, salt and pepper, and 1/2 cup of cream. Do the same with the carrots, finishing with one last layer of Panko and the rest of the cream. Gently spoon your onion jam over the top and smooth it to cover.
  5. Set the baking dish on a baking sheet. Loosely cover the top of the dish with foil. Set everything in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove dish from oven, remove the foil, and scatter your grated cheese over the top (I used smoked Gouda). Return dish to oven and bake for 15 minutes more to melt and lightly brown the cheese. Gratin is done when you can pierce all the way to the bottom easily with a paring knife.
  6. Remove the gratin from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Bevi
  • susan g
    susan g
  • growinggourmand
  • Niknud
  • lapadia

27 Reviews

Bevi October 4, 2011
Being the jam-head I have become (or have resurrected) this dish really appeals to me.
boulangere October 4, 2011
Jam-head - I love it! It's silken texture is absolutely sensuous. And take a look at how bret, below, added a lovely variation. Seriously, I'm thinking about canning some half-pint jars for Christmas presents. Of the jam, that is.
bret October 3, 2011
excellent ! day 2 !! the jam jams, allium yum !!! added yukon gold layer and whole wheat panko (2 crustless slices = 1 cup, crumbed in mini-processor, lightly toasted as oven heats)
boulangere October 3, 2011
Your WW panko sounds wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing it.
boulangere October 3, 2011
Please think about posting it on your page.
bret October 3, 2011
excellent ! day 2 !! the jam jams, allium yum !!! added yukon gold layer, and next time will do a second carrot layer - they really came through at reheat.

p.s. Whole wheat panko: 2 slices without crust, pulse in mini-food processor = 1 cup crumb, then lightly toasted in oven as it heats up.
boulangere October 3, 2011
Oh, love the day 2 validation! I imagine the yukon gold layer was lovely and velvety, and you can never have too many carrots. WW panko: brilliant! Thank you so much.
susan G. October 3, 2011
B, this looks amazing! I am new to parsnips and charmed by them, a sweet potato and carrot fan. The alliums should shine with the roots, and a smoked cheese would really set it off. Now, do you think I could get away with almond meal in place of the panko, or would you suggest a gluten free sub? I think this should be on the table at my book party.
boulangere October 3, 2011
What a great question, susan g. The alliums turn into a wonderfully silken topping, and a layer of crumbs on top of them, followed by cheese, prevent them from crisping, so the entire thing has a very even consistency. I think almond meal might be too, well, mealy. What would you think of rice crackers crumbled into a food processor and pulsed to about the same consistency as Panko?
susan G. October 3, 2011
Good suggestion, will try!
susan G. October 3, 2011
Your descriptions are so seductive -- wonderfully silken; if I had the ingredients I'd be running into the kitchen.

Your latest photo, in the tiny size, looked like something made of dough. I wondered what it could be. Hardly edible, just hard....
boulangere October 3, 2011
Well if you're talking about the photo that appears now, it's the layer of sweet white parsnips. But seriously, it does all bake down to lovely silken layers. So put on your track shoes and sprint for the kitchen!
susan G. October 4, 2011
Sorry, I had switched tracks -- I meant your profile photo -- a statue, another gift from Italy?
boulangere October 4, 2011
Oh, LOL! I only WISH I could sculpt out of dough as in the photo. It's actually at Versailles, one of the lovely sculptures in the gardens, of Aphrodite, I believe, though I could certainly be wrong. The overabundance of stimuli there is well, overwhelming. It was my 3rd visit and the daughter's first, so she was spellbound by EVERYTHING, where I was just a touch jaded. What a luxury, to be jaded by Versailles. Rain showers kept passing through, so when the rain stopped, visitors would dash outside to grab photos, then back inside if without umbrellas. We'd bought a 5 euro umbrella in Paris which lasted us literally until the day we left. We got our money's worth.
growinggourmand October 2, 2011
I Loved this!!! It had both a light crunch and a comforting creaminess to it. I have to say the crispy panko, the flavorful onion and leak jam, and my favorite.... the smoked gouda , really made this gratin recipe over the top! It was such a unique, but enjoyable experience. Definitely a great dish for a cool fall day! :)
boulangere October 2, 2011
Very glad you enjoyed it, and thanks especially for helping test it.
Niknud September 29, 2011
All these fantastic recipes have my usual low-carbish lifestyle in perilous danger! Sounds delicious (as always).
boulangere September 29, 2011
Oh, thank you. It can certainly be made with stock in place of the cream. The flavor will be different, but rich in its own way. I went with cream because of the holidays.
lapadia September 29, 2011
Emmm sounds delicious, boulangere, and I love the onion jam idea!
boulangere September 29, 2011
Thank you, it's the icing on the so to speak cake.
Midge September 28, 2011
I thought about doing something like this with sweet potatoes but your version is much more sophisticated and tastier than the one I had floating around in my head.
Midge September 28, 2011
plus it's an awesome name..
boulangere September 29, 2011
Oh, thank you so much. Sophisticated is about the last name I'd apply. Float your idea some more and please post it.
wssmom September 28, 2011
wow, this sounds incredibly yummy. Plus, I LOVE the name!!!
boulangere September 28, 2011
Thank you!
drbabs September 28, 2011
boulangere September 28, 2011