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.
Root Vegetable Crumble
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.