Thursday, January 28, 2010

Seeing Orange/Root Vegetable Crumble

Apparently I only eat orange foods. I didn't know this about myself until I was doing a TBD recap and I noticed that since the white bean dip every recipe I have written about has been orange or at least orange-tinted. What's worse is that I have already mentioned this whole orange fixation before. I assure you, I really do eat a whole lot of other color foods, but for whatever reason I don't seem to write about them. On that note, I think that today's recipe will be the last orange one for awhile; although my love for orange food is far from waning, I think it's time to mix things up around here.

When I told my mom that I was making a root vegetable crumble this past weekend, her response was "well, finally." Clearly I have been talking about this for a very long time and I was just waiting for the right moment to make a rich, cheesy dish. Whether or not I deserved it this weekend is up for debate, but what is not debatable is how much I enjoyed making (and eating) this crumble. I spent over an hour peeling and slicing the root vegetables methodically hypnotizing myself into a blissful oblivion. It was relaxing and satisfying and the final result could have cured any and all woes, were there any to be cured.

This dish is nothing short of decadent. A thick, cheese-heavy bechamel coats the dense, slightly sweet root vegetables and the panko topping is jazzed up with an exorbitant amount of Parmiggiano Reggiano. This is definitely not the dish to be made when most people are still sticking to their new year's resolutions, but ever the rule breaker, I have no regrets. Not that a cheesy, buttery crumble needs much more convincing, but check out the picture of the (practically empty) baking dish. That was all I had left the morning after I made this and there were only four people for dinner (and a few snackers along the way). I would definitely say it was a hit. I am already dreaming of other non-orange versions of this; leeks, broccoli, artichokes and zucchini all come to mind, but then again when it comes to cheese and bechamel, what doesn't work?

Root Vegetable Crumble
serves 6


For Vegetables:
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8" thick.
2 rutabagas, peeled, cut in half crosswise and sliced 1/8" thick.
6 parsnips, peeled, ends cut off and sliced 1/4" thick

For bechamel cheese sauce:
3 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. flour
4 c. milk (anything other than skim works, I used 1%)
1 1/2 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 small tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 c. grated gruyere cheese

Panko crumble topping:
2 c. panko
3 tbsp. flour
6 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 c. grated Parmiggiano Reggiano.

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13" glass baking dish. Line the vegetables up at an angle layering them slightly (as seen in the photo). Place in the preheated oven.
2) While the vegetables start roasting prepare the bechamel. Melt the butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Whisk for a couple minutes letting the flour brown slightly and allowing it to develop a slightly nutty scent. Pour in all of the milk whisking vigorously to avoid clumps. Continue to heat it over medium heat whisking frequently. After about 5 minutes, the mixture should start thickening. Add the mustard and pepper. Continue heating and whisking frequently, making sure the mixture doesn't boil; if it does, turn the heat down a bit. After about 10 minutes, the bechamel should be quite thick, turn off the heat and mix in the cheese allowing it to melt completely.
3) Take the vegetables out of the oven and pour all of the bechamel over it. Shift some of the vegetables around a bit, allowing the sauce to seep between them. Place back in the oven for another 15 minutes.
4) Prepare the crumble topping by cutting the butter into the panko, flour and Parmiggiano. The butter should be well incorporated, but a few chunks should remain. Set this aside in the fridge.
5) After the vegetables and bechamel have been in the oven for 15 minutes, take them out and sprinkle the panko topping evenly over the top. Place in the oven for another 15-20 minutes, until the top is a deep golden-brown and the bechamel is bubbling.
6) Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

• I served this with a simply dressed arugula salad to cut the richness and I suggest you do the same.
• If you can't find the vegetables listed here or if you don't like them, carrots, turnips, potatoes and celery root are all fine replacements.


Stefi Lara said...

tastes even better than it looks... hard to believe, i know.

E said...

So interesting - I never thought of a savory crumble. Looks delicious!