Easy way to make delicious root vegetable gratin

root vegetable gratin

I proudly announced my intentions to host a Friendsgiving dinner for our crew and we would do it up last year. About 15 minutes later, I remembered that I had an infant and a zillion other less cute things on my plate and came to my senses. This year, I have 9 days to get my act together.

what you'll need

Ina Garten is here to save me, though, as she has a new cookbook out which is about all the favorites she’s cooked for her husband over the years. It sounds of course terribly old-fashioned and yet, perhaps I’m just feeling a little extra sappy this week, but it’s hard to find the gesture itself anything less than unambiguously lovely. “There’s nothing more comforting than walking into a house that smells like there’s a roast chicken and onions or a homemade apple pie in the oven,” Ina writes in the introduction, and talks about the way having people around the table creating “a community of friends that take care of each other,” which, for her, is the whole point of cooking.

slicing the fennel
peeling the celery root
all prepped
onions and fennel
just a little cream
many crumbs

On Thanksgiving, however, I am of one singular stance: Team Casserole. I don’t just mean green beans (but, ahem, if you’re looking for un-goopy ones…), but basically anything that is baked in a large dish is often something that can be cooked long in advance, reheats and even holds heat well — essential when I have not even close to enough oven space to heat multiple dishes at once — is preferred over dishes that do not (last-minute sautés, roasting vegetables on sheet trays, etc.) Gratins are at the top of this list, and while there’s no rule that they all need to be swimming in cream and cheese, I think one rich one makes everyone happy. This gets my vote. It showcases a range of root vegetables but none that I don’t like (coughbeets) and tastes fantastic. It feeds a crowd and keeps really well. It smells amazing too, the kind of aroma that envelops you when you walk into the apartment and makes you feel, however briefly, like you are exactly where you were meant to be and maybe everything will be okay.

Root Vegetable Gratin

Servings: 8 to 10Time: 2 to 2 1/4 hoursSource: Ina Garten’s Cooking For Jeffrey
Once I realized how much this made, I divided it between two pans, one 3-quart baking dish and one 1-quart, freezing the larger one until I need it.

Garten’s original recipe calls for 1/2 cup chicken broth and 2 1/2 cups heavy cream. I do not like gratins to be this rich and find  your oven to 350°F. Butter a 13×9-inch deep baking dish.
Heat your oven to 350°F. Butter a 13×9-inch deep baking dish.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large deep (ideally 12-inch) saute pan over medium heat and add the onions and fennel. Cooking, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more.

Meanwhile, in the largest bowl you own, combine the onion mixture with remaining vegetables, cream, stock, cheese, thyme, 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper. Pour mixture into prepared dish and spread until even. Mix breadcrumbs and butter until evenly coated and distribute evenly over top of dish.

Bake 1 1/2 hours uncovered, or until vegetables are very tender when tested with a small knife and the top is browned and bubbly. Allow to set for 15 minutes at room temperature and serve hot.