Monday, October 15, 2012

Turnip-Parsnip Gratin

It's time for October's Eating the Alphabet Challenge courtesy of Brenda at Meal Planning Magic.  This month's letters were S &T.  The challenge is to make a dish featuring a fruit, vegetable, or grain that begins with the featured letter(s) of the month.  S &T was almost overwhelming with all of the choices available.  Spinach, tomatoes, squash, strawberries, swiss chard.....At first I thought about using tomatillos.  I had never cooked with them before and I really try to "challenge" myself with this challenge.  I didn't end up using them in my Challenge recipe but I did use them in fish tacos I made (see upcoming post).  Eventually I decided on turnips. I've eaten turnips a couple of times but the kids had not.  This recipe also let me sneak in another new veggie for the kids, parsnips. Plus, it gave me a chance to make this recipe which has been sitting in my "to try" recipe for a couple of years.  I posted the original recipe, which yields 8 servings, but I ended up halving it, knowing the kids probably wouldn't be eating it. This was definitely a bit time consuming.  And unfortunately, after all was said and done, I just wasn't a fan.  I wanted to be, but I think it needed more salt/flavor. The kids obligingly took their one mandatory bite and didn't want anymore.  The only one who liked this was my husband.  I'm always happy to try cooking new foods and recipes even if don't end up enjoying them as much as I thought. 

Turnip-Parsnip Gratin
recipe from Cooking Light, November 2009

3 3/4 cups (1/8-inch-thick) slices peeled turnip
3 3/4 cups (1/8-inch-thick) slices peeled parsnip
6 cups water
Cooking spray
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese (I used Gouda, which was also recommended)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine first 3 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 7 minutes or until almost tender. Drain; let stand 5 minutes. Arrange about 1/2 cup vegetable mixture into each of 8 (5 1/2-inch) round gratin dishes coated with cooking spray.

3. Combine milk, broth, flour, salt, and pepper in a saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a simmer. Cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk until thick. Remove from heat; add cheese, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Spoon about 3 tablespoons sauce over each serving.

4. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add panko; toast 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture evenly over cheese mixture. Place dishes on a baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown on top. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Family Rating: So-so.


  1. It sounds really good though! What didn't you like about it?

  2. It's possibly the cheese that I used and maybe the dish needed a little more salt. I found it lacking in flavor. My husband liked it I guess it's all about personal preference!

  3. This does sound good to me too! I almost chose turnips as well but am glad you did even if it didn't get rave reviews from most of your family. I still may give it a try!

  4. Root vegetables can really soak up the salt, so maybe it needed a bit more. And my rule of thumb: When all else fails, add more cheese! :)