If you are tiring of the sweetness of winter squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets, try parsnips. They have the same comforting texture with just a bit more bite, and lend a sophisticated flavor to this basic gratin. As always, feel free to experiment with herbs and various root vegetables.
Delicious and easy, parsnip gratin is the perfect winter side dish. A little extra cheese and it could be promoted to a main course. It’s even better on the second day.
4 or so parsnips peeled and cut into very thin rounds
1 medium onion sliced
1/2 cup cheese, such as gruyere
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sweet white rice flour or all-purpose flour (GF or otherwise).
1 cup milk
salt, pepper, and fresh herbs to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2 quart gratin or casserole dish and set aside. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Salt the boiling water and then add the parsnips; boil for two or so minutes, remove from water and set aside.
In another pot, melt the butter. When butter is foamy and fragrant, whisk in the flour, and cook for a few minutes. Still whisking, add the milk. Wait until each batch of milk is fully incorporated and the mixture is quite thick before adding more milk. Use about 3/4 of the milk, and then toss in the onions and cook with the roux over very low heat for five minutes stirring almost constantly, add milk if necessary. Turn off heat and add most of the cheese (reserve 1/4 cup for the top), stirring until it’s melted.
Layer the parsnips into the gratin dish, adding 1/3 of the roux over each layer. Make sure to build up the corners a bit. Top the dish with the rest of the roux and the additional cheese, pour the extra milk into the sides of the dish, and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 45 minutes. Remove from over and allow to cool for 10 minutes, serve. Enough for 4.