Vegetable gratin

Tony Tobin combines root vegetables to tasty effect in his gratin, ideal as a vegetarian main course
By Tony Tobin
Vegetable gratin
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

main

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 celeriac
  • 2 kohlrabi, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 stick celery
  • 150 g Puy lentils
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 420 ml water
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 egg, eaten
  • 100 g hard cheese, such as Cheddar, grated
  • salt, nd freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • home-made tomato sauce, or a crisp green salad, to serve

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 cloves
  • 300 ml milk
  • 25 g butter
  • 20 g flour
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp English mustard
  • salt, and freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Method

1. First make the béchamel sauce. Stud the onion half with the cloves. Place it in a pan with the milk and bring to a gentle simmer.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate, heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter gently, then slowly stir in the flour to form a paste.

3. Cook stirring for about 1 minute over moderate heat, then slowly pour in the hot milk through a sieve, stirring constantly.

4. Once all the milk has been mixed in, add in the bay leaf and mustard. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper and a pinch of nutmeg and simmer for 20 minutes stirring now and then.

5. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.

6. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add in the celeriac, kohlrabi and onion and fry until softened, around 5 minutes.

7. Add in the carrot, celery, lentils, garlic and water. Bring to the boil, then cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.

8. Mix the béchamel sauce, parsley and beaten egg into the vegetable mixture, mixing well. Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper.

9. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a 750ml shallow ovenproof dish and smooth the top.

10. Mix together the grated cheese, breadcrumbs and sesame seeds and sprinkle over the top.

11. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and crisp.

12. Serve hot from the oven with home-made tomato sauce or, alternatively, cold with a crisp green salad.

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