Wednesday, 22 February 2012

And so lent begins!

So we are good to go. Lent has started and that means I’m giving up chain food stored for lent. One of the things I’ve done in response is to set myself up for a weekly vegetable box delivery scheme. Had two boxes so far and I think it’s great! Not that expensive (£8 a week), gets delivered straight to my door, it’s seasonal…and the thing I like the most – it forces me to think outside the box and cook things I might not otherwise think of.

This week, it appears I have a surplus of parsnips. Time to get create. So I had a think about what I could do with it, other than roasting it or making a spicy soup.  I started having a look through the recipe books and I noticed a copy of the ‘River Cottage Veg Patch’ book. Now if anyone can help me make the most of surplus veg…its Hugh.

To my delight there is a lovely recipe for potato dauphinoise…and it advocates the use of other route vegetables as appropriate! So I gave it a go…potato and parsnip dauphinoise…or potsnip for short. And I have to say, it was really good. Next time I’m going to try a bit of peppery Swede, or maybe some Celeriac. I do think though it’s important to make sure you have at least half potato – otherwise it might start to get a little bit sickly.

So here you go people – definitely one to try out. I served it with a big slab of pork belly (its winter and I need to get my fat reserves up) and some green vegetables.

Potsnip dauphinoise
Serves 6 as a side dish

25g unsalted butter, softened
300g waxy potatoes
300g parsnip
300ml double cream
2 – 3 large garlic cloves
Plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper
Handful grated cheddar cheese (optional)

Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas Mark 3. Rub a gratin dish liberally with the butter.

Peel the potatoes and parsnips and slice them thickly. In a large bowl, mix together the cream and garlic and season well with salt and pepper. Toss the potatoes and the parsnips in the mixture and layer them in the gratin dish, then pour over the remaining cream (if you want to be precise, you can mix of the potato and parsnips and separate bowls and lay alternate layers of each).

Cover the dish with foil and place in the own and bake for between an hour and a half. After an hour, remove the foil so that the top can become crispy and golden. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top, if using, to make it extra sumptuous. The dauphinoise is ready when the top is bubbling and golden, and the potatoes are soft and yielding when pearced with a knife. Leave to stand for a few minutes before serving.

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