Root Vegetable Gratin | Recipe | Potato, Sweet Potato, Celeriac and Parsnip Gratin

Yesterday, I told you about "The Fab Five," the name my brothers, cousins and I called ourselves.  We were lucky enough to have a "cool" aunt growing up.  You know the type - the one who lives in a hip apartment in Manhattan, has all of the latest and greatest clothes, accessories, electronics and gadgets, dotes on her nieces and nephews, and spoils them rotten.  Our aunt was so cool that instead of calling her Zia ("aunt" in Italian), we just called her "Z."

When I was in Paris last month, my nieces and I were playing dress-up with my clothes and jewelry.  My brother chuckled and said, "You're Z.  All the things that made her so much fun and cool....that's you now.  You're Z."  I assure you, this is quite a compliment!  It means I've officially become a fun, cool, hip aunt!!

Back in 1989, or somewhere around there, Z took over hosting Thanksgiving.  When she was still living in her apartment, my cousin Colin and I would entertain ourselves by having elevator races and sending notes down to the mailman using the mail shoot.  Yup, it was pretty easy to entertain ourselves back then!...but thinking back on it, congesting the elevators probably didn't make the neighbors too happy.

As I got older, I tried to make myself a little more helpful and arrive early to set up and help Z wash the dishes after dinner while the rest of the family took naps, walks or watched football.  Year after year, without fail, as I'm washing the very last fork, my uncle would walk in and offer to help wash the dishes!  After 10 years, it became our joke.

Z is a phenomenal cook, even though she doesn't enjoy it.  She out does herself year after year after year.  When I was in college, she made the Root Vegetable Gratin below and I enjoyed it so much, I asked for the recipe.  I held on to it all these years and make it each year for Thanksgiving.  It's rather decadent with heavy cream and Gruyere cheese,  but the way I see it, eating it once a year won't hurt me!  This gratin is absolutely delicious and something I look forward to all year long.  If you have some turnips, throw them in as well. 

If you have a food processor, fit it with the slicing blade and slice the vegetables about 1/4" thick.  Saves a ton of time slicing them this way and ensures that each slice is of equal width.

Root Vegetable Gratin Recipe
Yields: 10-12 servings

1/2 c chicken broth
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 bulb celery root (celeriac), peeled and thinly sliced
2 medium parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced
2/3 c heavy cream
6 oz (approx 1-1/2 c) Gruyere cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place chicken broth and butter in an microwave safe bowl and microwave for 45 seconds.
2. Place potatoes, celery root, and parsnips in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper; toss.  Pour chicken broth mixture over vegetables and toss.  Transfer to 13"x9" baking dish.
3. Cover baking dish with foil and bake vegetables for 40 minutes.
4. Remove dish from oven.  In a glass measuring cup, microwave heavy cream for 45 seconds.  Pour heavy cream evenly over vegetables.  Sprinkle vegetables with cheese.  Return to oven.  Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes longer.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

MAKE-AHEAD TIP: Prepare gratin through Step 4.  Allow to cool.  Cover with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated.  Before reheating, let gratin sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.  Bake in a 325 degree F preheated oven.  Bake, covered with tin foil, for 30 minutes.  Remove cover and bake for 15 minutes.

Source: Good Housekeeping