I had a pile of winter root vegetables on hand and a mother-in-law coming to dinner at short notice. Just roasting them didn't seem quite fancy enough, soup didn't seem substantial enough so I googled sweet potato and parsnip and found my solution - gratin. I found a recipe which inspired me - then I made one up with what we had on hand.
Everybody (including me) loved it, and most had seconds (not including me).
Here's how I made it.
4 small Sweet Potatoes
3 Small Potatoes
1 large Carrot
2 brown onions
Salt & Pepper
Few sprigs of Thyme
a long stalk of Rosemary
a little butter for greasing pan
150g gruyere cheese
1. Finely slice all 5 vegetables (a mandolin makes this much easier if you have one.)
2. Combine Cream, Milk, a good grind of salt and pepper and the leaves from the thyme in a jug and stir well.
3. Start layering into a large baking dish. I went sweet potato, onion, a little cream, parsnip, onion, cream, potato, onion, cream, carrot, onion, cream and then repeated til I ran out of things.
4. Top it all with gruyere and sprinkle the rosemary leaves over the top.
5. Bake in a moderate oven (180C or 350F) for about 50 min. - I needed to cover in foil for the last 15 min to stop the browning.
I served this with a salad of cos lettuce, cucumber slices and avacado dice with a lemon mustard salad dressing. (lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey and extra virgin olive oil). They were good together as the lemon and freshness of the salad balanced the richness of the gratin.
I used Heirloom Purple Carrots in my gratin. They looked beautiful when I sliced them (like little tie-dye splotches) but the colour permeated the whole gratin in a slightly odd way. I think I would use orange carrots next time.