I’m not sure how it came to this, but I discovered last week that this turnip and leek blue cheese gratin, in all its weird-looking blue cheese glory, holds up as leftovers for SIX DAYS. So, even if you’re only cooking for one, I highly recommend treating yourself to this indulgent vegetarian dinner.
If I retrace my steps (or my dinner plan), I suppose last week was pretty busy. In all honesty, I’d much rather tell you about the top secret activities I’m working on this week. It won’t be long, but I have to keep my mouth shut for the moment, so revisit last week’s dinners we shall. Here’s the rundown:
- Monday: creamy Mediterranean lentil salad wraps with homemade hummus and a side of braised leeks
- Tuesday: Robin Hood benefit dinner in NYC–amazing night, not so amazing piece of salmon-colored tofu
- Wednesday: quality time with my baby sis at dinner. Again, great night, excellent wines, and very off-putting brown deviled eggs.
- Thursday: Laura’s ginger sweet potato and lentil dal with coconut leeks
- Friday: More secrets
Sorry that was not a real meal plan, just in case you had your hopes up. I do promise you Monday’s recipe soon. Basically, the goal of the couple dinners eaten at home was to use up some of the ingredients we had on hand from mother’s day and from me overestimating our calorie needs at the grocery store. By the time I got to the leftover gratin for Thursday’s lunch, hallelujah, it was still every bit as good as when it came out of the oven on the previous Friday night. Except this time, it didn’t burn my tongue.
Up next: Butternut squash gratin with onions and sage
- 1 C whole milk
- 2 thyme sprigs
- A few whole peppercorns
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
- 2 thin slices yellow or white onion, or shallot
- 2 T butter
- Scant 2 T all-purpose flour
- 2 oz. (weight) gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
- ¼ C heavy cream
- Ground or grated nutmeg (optional)
- Sea or kosher salt
- White pepper
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and halved crosswise
- 1 t butter
- 3 large leeks, white and barely green parts, sliced into ¼" rounds and rinsed
- 1½ pounds (about 2 medium) turnips, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and sliced ¼" thick
- 4 thyme sprigs
- Sea or kosher salt
- White pepper
- Gradually heat milk with thyme, peppercorns, garlic, and onion in a small saucepan until just simmering. Turn off heat and strain milk into a liquid measuring cup. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium, then add flour and stir 3 to 5 minutes, moving on to the next step if the mixture begins to darken. Reduce heat to medium low and whisk while adding warm milk. Once combined, increase heat gradually until sauce simmers, then maintain a simmer and stir almost constantly until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Off heat, whisk in gorgonzola until nearly melted, then stir in cream. Season with a pinch of ground or grated nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Cover or otherwise keep warm while assembling the gratin.
- Preheat oven to 375 (F). Set a medium pot of water over high heat. Meanwhile, rub a 2 qt. gratin or baking dish with the cut surface of the garlic clove, then grease with butter.
- When water boils, add a generous pinch of salt, then the leeks. Keep heat on high as the leeks cook for 2 minutes, then remove to a colander set over a dish towel. Place turnips in boiling water and cook 4 minutes, moving leeks to a small bowl in the meantime. Drain turnips in the colander. Make a layer of half the turnips followed by half the leeks and all the thyme sprigs in the prepared dish, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer remaining turnips and leeks over the top, followed by more salt and pepper. Pour béchamel over the vegetables to cover, then gently shake the pan to work sauce down into the vegetable layers.
- Bake 30 minutes just above the center rack in the oven. If desired, run under the broiler for a couple minutes to achieve golden spots on top. Cool 5 minutes before serving. Gratin can be assembled a day ahead without baking, and leftovers keep well in the refrigerator almost a week.
Adapted from Deborah Madison's The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
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