The glass half full side to being utterly and truly and unfortunately late to the Thanksgiving food party is that I am almost a whole month early for Christmas!!
And almost a whole YEAR early for next Thanksgiving!!!
Probably the only time I’ll be early for anything for the foreseeable future, but hey! I’ll take it.
As you can imagine, being the only vegetarian in the family (besides Remy, of course) I always self-appoint myself as the “maker of the vegetarian entree” at any family function. Firstly, so that I won’t be left eating iceberg lettuce as a main course, but also so that I can expose any and everyone to the magic that is a really good vegetarian meal.
This year’s Thanksgiving contender was this autumn root vegetable gratin from Food52, and let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint. This is even in spite of the fact that as soon as I put it into the oven to cook, I realized that I had not added salt or pepper to it. At all. Not even one pinch. Gah.
I snuck in some seasoning as it was headed into the oven for the second time to reheat (<– BONUS – it reheats really well), and I guess that did the trick because certain vegetable-hating family members actually fought us for the leftovers…and WON.
Gratins often seem like they require a lot of legwork, but honestly this one was super easy to throw together.
When gratin-ing with starchier vegetables, I often worry about slicing them thin enough so that they’ll actually cook in the time it takes for the cheese to brown, but this was not a problem in this case. If you’re not afraid of slicing off a finger, you can cut them with a mandoline but I just used the slicing attachment on my food processor and everything worked out fine. Also, feel free to mix up the root vegetables that you use for this depending on what you have on hand! It’s pretty flexible and is amenable to including just about any vegetable that can be pulled out of the ground – carrots, turnips, celeriac, parsnips, sweet potatoes – it’s totally your call.
Also, while the original recipe called for carefully arranging the vegetable slices in the pan in a neat and organized fashion, I went with more of a “toss and go” approach. Probably not as pretty, but just as delicious, and isn’t that what really counts?
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1.5 lb butternut squash, peeled and very thinly sliced
- 1 lb yukon gold potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
- ½ lb rutabaga, peeled and very thinly sliced
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- ¼ tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp minced sage
- 2 cups grated Gruyere
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Heat the oven to 400F. In a small pot, combine the milk with the smashed garlic clove. Heat over low heat just until small bubbles start to form around the sides. Remove from the heat and let steep while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
- Thinly slice the butternut squash, potatoes, and rutabaga. You can use a mandoline if you're brave enough, but I used the slicing attachment of my food processor.
- Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with olive oil. Layer ⅓ of the vegetables in the pan. Season with salt and black pepper and top with ⅓ of the herbs, gruyere, and parmesan cheese. Repeat for two more layers.
- Remove the garlic from the milk and pour the milk over the vegetables in the pan. Drizzle the remaining tbsp of olive oil over the vegetables. Bake for 50 minutes, or until vegetables are soft, and cheese is browned and bubbling, rotating the pan once halfway through the baking time. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.