celery root + potato gratin

Especially during the holidays, we really like to reminisce about our Grannies. For as many people as we have fed over the years, I don't think we will ever come close to their collective totals. Everyone was welcome at their table; and this fact was always apparent at meal time. There was never a shortage of new faces around the table. You show up, you are welcome, you get fed. Pretty simple.

And once you came, you always returned.

I think back on those meals, and their simple execution. These ladies were both masters of creating the most sublime, and comforting dishes out of literally anything. I would go so far as to say, that I don't think either of them put more than 5 ingredients into anything they ever made. Yet somehow, their food cannot be duplicated. Sometimes I think that it had something to do with the dishes, and pans they used. Heavy, old, and full of character. You could cook dirt in these vessels, and I am convinced I would go back for seconds. Arguably, these pans were every bit as important as what was inside them. Without them, you lost something.

 This dish is definitely an homage. Simple, comforting, and crowd friendly. This is one to make for friends, and a sure fire way to make new ones. I think they would both approve.

  • 1 pound celery root, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt + more to taste
  • 4 sage leaves
  • sprig of thyme
  • sprig of rosemary
  • 8 0z white cheddar, shredded
  • 3/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

Butter 10 x 12 casserole.  set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in large, heavy bottomed dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and saute for a few minutes, or until soft.  Add garlic, milk, heavy cream and salt.  Bring just to a simmer.  Add rosemary, thyme and sage leaves.  Carefully place potatoes and celery root in the liquid.  Cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium low.  Cook for 10 minutes (make sure liquid does not boil, you just want a simmer)

Remove from heat.  Carefully place half of the potato and celery root in the bottom of buttered casserole.  Top with 1/2 of the shredded cheddar, and half of the chopped parsley.  Ladle half of the cooking liquid over the potatoes, celery root and cheese.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. 

Turn oven up to 400 degrees.  bake for another 10 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool slightly.  Enjoy!

Despite the fact that neither of us inherited any magical, heirloom bakeware, we did recently receive a beautiful piece from American Bakeware, that reminds us every bit of the kinds of things our beloved Grannies used. Heavy, and reliable. Ready to stand the test of time.