Day 7 – Roast Vegetable Gratin
Not everyone has this happy set of circumstances however and many parents have difficulties convincing young people to have a larger variety away from the usual favourites. If you are going to go to the trouble of masking them by grating them into meatballs and bolognese sauce, you could do a lot worse than putting them into a cheesy sauce and serving it up as a side dish.
True, little ones may pull out certain vegies and refuse them, but overall this is a glorious mixture of the familiar and the new. This is the dish to include those more infrequent guest to your kitchen – swede makes an appearance here, as does fennel, but you could also include broccoli, silverbeet or kale, sweet potato or celeriac. Just make sure that the taste of one vegetable doesn’t overwhelm the rest.
Serves 4 as a light supper or 6 as a side dish
2 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and diced into 3cm chunks; 1 medium-sized swede, peeled and cut into 3cm chunks; 2 carrots, peeled; 1 baby fennel bulb, cut in half then sliced thinly; OR 1 small celeriac, peeled and cut into 1 cm chunks; 1 large zucchini cut into quarters lengthways then diced; 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced (optional); 2 tbsp olive oil
Cheese Sauce: 2 tbsp plain flour; 40g butter; 2 cups (500ml) milk (a good quality soy is best here if you want to make it lactose free); sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste; 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (use goat’s cheddar or a soy cheddar for a lactose free version)
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Place the potatoes and swede and place in a saucepan of water. Bring to the boil and cook for three minutes to par-boil them. Drain. Place them in a large gratin or small roasting dish.
Cut the carrots into 1 cm slices and add with the remaining vegetables to the potatoes. Drizzle with oil and bake for 40 minutes in the oven. From time to time, toss the vegetables well to coat them in oil and to help them crisp up a little.
While the vegies are baking, make your sauce.
Sauce: Heat a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and add flour and butter. Mix well to combine and cook it, stirring constantly for three minutes. Add the milk all in one go and use a balloon whisk to stir it well. Keep stirring until all lumps are removed and the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and stir in some seasonings to taste and two-thirds of the cheese.
Remove vegetables from the oven and pour the cheese sauce over the lot. Stir it lightly to incorporate as much sauce into the vegetables as you can. Scatter the remaining cheese over it and return to the oven for 20 minutes until the cheese melts and browns.
Allow it to cool a little before serving as it tends to scald if eaten immediately.
$8.25 for up to six people as a side dish