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Mashed Potato and Turnip Gratin

Mashed Potato and Turnip Gratin


  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 5 medium)
  • 1 3/4 pounds turnips (about 5 medium)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese, divided

Recipe Preparation

  • Butter 11x7x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Cook potatoes and turnips in heavy large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 35 minutes. Drain. Cool vegetables slightly and peel. Cut into large chunks; place in food processor. Add butter and process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Add 1/4 cup cheese and pinch of ground nutmeg; blend briefly. Season puree to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into prepared dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. DO AHEAD Gratin can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Bake gratin uncovered until vegetables are hot and top is golden, about 25 minutes.

,Photos by Pornchai MittongtareReviews Section

Turnips are a member of the cabbage family and look a lot like rutabagas. They can be used interchangeably with swedes and rutabagas.

If you’ve had turnips before and found them bitter, then you’ll need to re-think how they were chosen and prepared. Basically, the older and larger a turnip is, the more bitter it will taste. Choose ones that are around the size of a tennis ball for the best flavor.

When it comes to actually cooking them, the trick to a non-bitter turnip dish is how you boil them. Use lots of water and don’t cover them. Let that bitterness boil away!

Turnip-potato gratin

Geographically speaking, the South Pasadena kitchen where Craig Strong is cooking this December afternoon is only a few miles from the elaborately outfitted kitchen and Michelin-starred white-tablecloth dining room of the Langham, Huntington Hotel & Spa -- previously Pasadena’s Ritz-Carlton -- where he’s been chef de cuisine for the last eight years. But in other ways, Strong is a world away, the distance more conceptual, even emotional, than geographic.

This is downtime, a rare day off during the holidays, a feast cooked purely for the fun of it to celebrate both the season and the gift of time with friends and family.

“Take a traditional meal and put a twist on it,” is how Strong describes his holiday dinner, a menu centered around an old-fashioned roast duck but marked by a faintly Asian spice route of star anise and cardamom, honey, cinnamon and citrus.

Strong checks on a roasting duck the color of mahogany, then stirs a honey gastrique sauce in the copper pot his friend (and Langham maitre d’) Robert Hartstein carried back from Paris in his luggage years ago. He gives his fiancee (“I can say that now! We got engaged three weeks ago”), Lissa Pallo, pointers on how to tie a bouquet garni to decorate a turnip-potato gratin while he arranges thin slices of fresh ginger around a pan of seared bok choy.

The bouquet of bay leaf and thyme sprigs is a pretty, aesthetic touch more than a flavor signal -- the gratin is subtly laced with star anise. It’s also a cheffy gesture that represents how Strong thinks about food: classically, with an attention to detail and technique that provides the foundation for simple meals at home as well as for the tasting menus (operatic, inspired) he orchestrates at the Dining Room.

Pallo moves off to play with Hartstein’s two small children, 15-month-old Ava and 3 1/2 -year-old Robbie, who has made a fishing rod with a large rubber spatula and kitchen twine. Hartstein fashions an ad hoc bib from a dish towel (Hartstein also trained as a chef) for Ava his wife, Jennifer, a pediatrician, adds a finishing touch to the dinner table.

Strong begins dicing kumquats in the Hartsteins’ kitchen, flicking the little seeds to the side of the cutting board with the tip of an old chef’s knife.

“I love kumquats they remind me of when I was a kid,” says Strong, who lived in Camarillo and El Cajon, outside of San Diego, until he was 15. “When we lived in Camarillo, we had kumquat trees, Meyer lemon trees, loquats. There were pomegranates up the street. I’d stuff my shirt with them and then ride away on my bike. The lady hated us.”

Another neighbor grew sugar cane, which he’d trade for his mother’s chocolate chip cookies. Larceny, it seems, only applied to pomegranates.

Strong grew up as one of eight kids and learned how to cook at an early age from his mother and grandmother. His mother not only made barter-quality cookies but also baked bread. “She ground the wheat for the bread she’d bake herself,” he says.

Strong’s father was president of a drip irrigation company, so he installed a system in the family vegetable garden, which was Strong’s project. “My older brothers mowed the lawn I pulled weeds” -- and grew tomatoes and zucchini, the first subjects of his culinary experiments.

In public high school in Salt Lake City, where his family moved when he was 15, Strong took cooking classes (“I’d make chicken cordon bleu and rice pilaf back then I thought that was pretty cool”) and apprenticed to a pastry chef at a local restaurant. At 19, he went to culinary school, L’Academie de Cuisine near Washington, D.C., and then moved to Philadelphia to work at the Ritz-Carlton.

Back in the kitchen, Strong whips cream into soft peaks, then folds in a ganache of melted chocolate and cardamom-infused cream to make a milk chocolate mousse. He recounts how he made a pie out of the mousse for Thanksgiving, showing Pallo’s 9-year-old niece how to work the simple recipe: equal weights of chocolate, warm cream and whipped cream.

This same proportion works for a luxurious foie gras mousse Strong makes at the Langham. “You take out the chocolate and use foie. A little secret.”

He adds layers of purchased pound cake, chopped chocolate, slices of banana and fresh blueberries and raspberries, alternating layers with the chocolate mousse as one would a trifle. (“At my house, we got to lick the bowl we still do.”) Sprigs of chocolate mint dot the top.

Another reason Strong likes this recipe is because it’s so adaptable: One night at the Langham, he layered the mousse with delicate chocolate craquantes (pearl-size chocolate-covered rice candies) and perfectly cut squares of his own homemade pound cake, then piped chantilly cream stars on the top, alternating them in concentric circles around fresh berries. Sometimes he makes the mousse in individual cups other times, it’s one big family-sized bowl.

“I have other chocolate mousse recipes -- you have eggs, you have sabayon -- they’re much more complicated,” Strong says. “I like this better sometimes simplicity is best.”

While he was cooking at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta, where he’d moved after three years at Philadelphia’s Ritz-Carlton, Strong was thinking about Europe. “The chef was trying to get me to go to France, but I couldn’t get a work visa.” Then a chef whom Strong had met while staging in Atlanta called from a restaurant in Barcelona, Spain, owned by the Ritz-Carlton, saying his sous chef had quit and asking Strong to come over and take his spot.

Strong was in Barcelona for two years, learning how to cook with olive oil instead of butter (courtesy of his classical culinary training), and learning how to speak Spanish and a smattering of Catalan.

“If I’d use butter and cream with fish, they’d say, ‘What’s that French stuff?’ ” he says. “It taught me how to do different things.”

The duck comes out of the oven and rests for a while on the counter before he cuts it with quick precision. “The thing about all birds is that you want the skin crispy,” says Strong. He says that in Atlanta he’d sear ducks by rotating them constantly in a hot saute pan -- a huge fork stuck into the bird -- like a manual rotisserie. They never went into the oven.

Strong (who finishes his duck in the oven) takes a deep breath. “Your house starts to smell like spices -- the cardamom, the nutmeg, the cinnamon -- if you’re cooking for the holidays, you want to smell spice.”

The gastrique reduced (the amber of the honeyed sauce matches the color of the old copper pan), Strong drops in a nub of butter and the sliced kumquats. “It’s basically duck a l’orange,” he says, stirring. “I wanted a sauce that didn’t have veal stock. We make it once a week at the restaurant, but that’s kind of crazy at home. What you want is a combination of things that are a little exotic but that you can get at Vons.”

While Strong is seeding pomegranates to garnish a simple kabocha squash soup (“Soup!” yells toddler Robbie, who promptly decides to create his own from water, berries and a small mountain of fresh thyme), Pallo comes back into the kitchen to get some of the fruit for the table. An actress whose mother is from Monterey, Mexico, Pallo watches her fiance delicately remove the garnet seeds from their intricate housings. “I grew up on a farm in Fresno we’d just throw them on the ground,” she says.

Strong sprinkles a few spiced pecans atop the warm soup and pours the finished gastrique -- the kumquats like disks of bright gold -- into a tiny copper pot for serving. “I’m not going to spend the whole day in the kitchen,” says Strong about the short time he has off (the Langham is open throughout the holidays). “When you’re entertaining at home, it’s about the food -- but it’s also about spending time with the people.”

Rutabaga Recipes: How To Gratin, Mash And Roast This Root Vegetable (PHOTOS)

Over the summer, we asked our CSA baskets WTF was going on inside them. Now, in the dead of winter, we don't have a farm-shares to yell at, but we realized that there were still vegetables in need of interrogation. Today, we want to shine the spotlight on a lesser-loved root vegetable that gets lonely in the cellar -- the rutabaga.

You've definitely seen a rutabaga before, but you might have mistaken it for a turnip. You wouldn't be alone. Rutabagas and turnips look incredibly similar. In fact, the rutabaga is often called a Swede or Swedish turnip and is actually a cross between a white turnip and cabbage. The resulting root vegetable is yellowish in color, starchier and sweeter than a turnip, but more tender than a potato. This means that the rutabaga lends itself to any preparation you would use a potato, turnip or sweet potato for. They are great mashed, purᅢᄅed into soup, roasted or shaved raw into a salad.

We've got a few more months of winter vegetables ahead of us, so why not give the rutabaga a try?

Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Turnip and potato gratin

I don’t know whether I’m getting smart or getting lazy the older I get, the harder it is to tell the difference. But lately I’ve been finding that when I cook dishes I’ve made for years, I’m looking more and more for the easiest way to do things. That doesn’t mean leaving out ingredients or settling for less-than-delicious food so much as simplifying techniques.

A dinner a few weekends ago is a good example. It was raining and we were having neighbors over, so my wife asked me to make a pot roast. Ever since I started playing with high-heat braising several years ago, this has been one of my favorite dishes. It sounds crazy, but cooking a chuck roast in a cast-iron pot at 450 degrees for 2 hours gives you meat that is so tender it practically falls apart in buttery chunks.

The first time I tried this high-heat braising, I was skeptical. And so were the meat scientists I called afterward, trying to figure out why it had worked so well. The closest I can come to describing it is that somehow, each individual muscle fiber becomes separate and distinct (indeed, leftovers make great shredded meat for stews or sandwiches). Because of the high heat, all of the connective tissue and fat melt, leaving the once-tough meat so tender you can spoon it apart.

This technique is good not only for chuck roast, but for other tough cuts of beef as well. And I’ve also done it successfully with leg of lamb and lamb shoulder.

Usually when I fix this pot roast, I first marinate the meat overnight in red wine. Then I brown the meat. Then I saute onions, garlic, shallots and carrots to make a vegetable base. Then I add a bouquet garni of celery, parsley and bay leaves. Then I bring the wine to a simmer. Then I put the meat back in the pan, cover it tightly and cook away.

This meal was kind of spur of the moment, so I didn’t have time to marinate the meat. And to tell you the truth, I wasn’t really in the mood for a laborious project. So here’s what I did: I sliced the onions, garlic and shallots and put them in the bottom of my Dutch oven. I salted the meat on both sides and put it on top. I stuck the pan in a 450-degree oven for 20 minutes to brown the meat on one side, then turned it over and browned the other. Then I added the wine, covered it and more or less forgot about it, aside from occasional checks to make sure everything was going OK.

This is where the lazy-smart part gets confusing. This pot roast was better than the labor-intensive version. I wish I could claim that I knew in advance that eliminating all of those steps would result in a better dish, but that’s just the way it was-sloth pays.

What’s really odd is that the same thing happened with the gratin I fixed to go with the pot roast. Normally, I make a gratin by poaching the potatoes in milk to pre-cook them, then pouring them into a gratin dish, arranging them nicely, pouring the milk over them, scattering them with cheese and then baking to a golden crust.

This same lazy day, I simply sliced the potatoes (and turnips, which add a wintry sweetness) straight into the gratin dish and baked them dry at 450 degrees until they softened. Then I added enough cream to almost come to the top, scattered cheese over and returned the dish to the oven.

Here’s the really weird part: That worked even better than the pot roast. Roasting the turnips and potatoes rather than poaching them intensified their flavors. The final cooking in cream smoothed everything out and gave the gratin a luxurious texture. The cheese emphasized the earthiness of the vegetables.

Being lazy is not the same as being sloppy. There are some tricks to both of these dishes, and the main one is paying close attention to what you’re doing. When you’re cutting corners in technique, sometimes you run a little close to the edge.

For both of these dishes, scorching is a danger, because of the high heat of cooking. The slices of potatoes and turnips that are on the bottom of the gratin pan will brown fairly quickly during the first cooking. Keep an eye on them and scrape the bottom with the spatula when you stir to make sure they’re not sticking. A little browning is a good thing, though. Don’t freak out about it.

When you’re cooking the pot roast, check the meat every 20 minutes to make sure the wine hasn’t reduced too far and the onions haven’t begun to stick. For the last half-hour, check every 10 minutes. The wine and onions will be almost a jelly at this point and will badly want to scorch. Stir well and add a bit more wine if necessary. This is not the time to take a walk.

Whenever I’ve written about high-heat braising, I’ve tried to emphasize the importance of using the right pot. I’ll repeat it here: If you don’t have a cast-iron pan, get one. It doesn’t have to be a fancy one the kind they sell at the hardware store will do fine. Mine is a hand-me-down from my mother-in-law (insert joke of choice here). Cast iron is a very poor conductor. Using it ensures that the heat is distributed slowly and evenly with none of those scorch-prone hot spots you get with other metals.

Size counts too. The pan should be just big enough to hold the meat comfortably without it touching the sides. The bigger the pan, the more liquid you’ll have to add to come to the same level on the meat. Mine is 4 1/2 quarts and about 11 inches across-perfect for a chuck. I’ve got another cast-iron braising pan that is larger and oblong. That’s the one I use for the leg of lamb.

In testing the gratin, we ran into another pan oddity. After the first roasting of the vegetables, there was about 1/2 cup of liquid in the bottom of the earthenware gratin dish. My gratin dishes are old enameled cast iron and that didn’t happen. If you have the same problem, just pour off the excess liquid.

Who knows what that’s all about. And to tell the truth, as good as the gratin tastes either way, I’m not going to worry about it. Whether that’s being smart or lazy is up to you to decide.


  • Put the potatoes and parsnips in a 6- to 8-quart pot, cover by about 3 inches with cold water, add 1 Tbs. salt, bring to a boil, and cook until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes after the water begins to boil. Drain the potatoes and parsnips, put them back into the pot with the butter, and coarsely mash with a potato masher. Fold in the crème fraîche, mascarpone, nutmeg, 2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. (If you prefer a smoother texture, whip with a hand mixer on medium high until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.) Season to taste with salt and pepper and then fold in the egg white. Transfer to a 9吉-inch baking dish.
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Remove the plastic, sprinkle with the cheese, and bake until the gratin is heated through and the top is golden, about 40 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Make Ahead Tips

The assembled gratin can be refrigerated for up to 3 days (minus the Parmigiano sprinkled on top). Let cool completely, wrap well in plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Take the gratin out of the refrigerator about an hour before you plan to bake it.

The assembled gratin can also be frozen for up to 3 weeks. the texture becomes a little grainy but nothing you’d notice once topped with gravy. Cool completely, wrap in well in plastic, and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour before sprinkling with Parmigiano and baking.

Potato, Carrot, and Turnip Gratin

I’m sorry that I haven’t been updating as frequently, but it’s because I’ve been so busy! My brothers, Wyatt (17) and Dane (20), were here visiting us for a week, so I’ve been running around making sure that we have lots of food and planning what we’ll be doing and all of that, plus there was the office holiday party, trying to get to the gym, and searching for a new apartment (more on all of that in coming posts). I have good news, though: we found a new apartment! We just put the deposit down the other morning and I am so thrilled. It is literally steps from the subway, which is fantastic because right now, it takes me 15 minutes to walk to the train in the morning. The walk only adds to my commute and can be pretty miserable when the weather is miserable (which is much too often, especially this time of year). The new apartment has a dishwasher, a washer and dryer, and a balcony! I can’t believe we were so lucky to find such an amazing place! Our apartment now is kind of run down, not to mention in foreclosure, so I’ll be so happy to be out of there in a month. My new kitchen is gorgeous and has tons of storage it’s the part that I’m most excited for, of course. My kitchen right now doesn’t have a window in it, but this one has giant floor to ceiling windows – I really couldn’t ask for anything more! I’ll take photos of it as soon as we move in February 1st!

If you remember my Vegan Carrot and Parsnip Soup from last week, then you’ll know why I made this Potato, Carrot, and Turnip Gratin: I had lots of carrots left over! A gratin is simply a casserole of sorts with some sort of browned crust, either from breadcrumbs, butter, cheese, or all three! I decided to steer clear of the breadcrumbs and topped mine with some heavy cream and plenty of Parmesan cheese. I really enjoyed this dish, so much so that we actually ate it alone for dinner when I made it! It makes a great side for the holidays though, and you can use any combination of root vegetables that you have laying around. I think the best part is how beautiful it is. The colors are so bright and vibrant, how can you not want to take a bite? The flavor is just what you’d expect: rich, creamy, and comforting. The potatoes add some body to the dish, while the carrots add a touch of sweetness and the turnips, while slightly less sweet than the carrots, add a bit of crispness to the overall tender gratin. I am a firm believer that everything can be made to taste that much better with a bit of cheese, so feel free to add as much Parmesan as you like! I sprinkles some chives over top for color, too. This gratin only takes about 15 minutes of prep work, then it’s in the oven for about an hour and you’re ready to eat!

Your ingredients. Kramer got some beautiful radishes from the green market that I wanted to try to incorporate into this, but it didn’t work out, sadly.

Peel your carrots, turnips, and potatoes.

Melt your butter in a skillet.

Add in the onions. Saute for 5 minutes, until soft.

Add in the white wine and continue to cook over medium heat until reduced and the onions are caramelized, about 5-8 minutes.

Add in the garlic when the onions are almost finished, and cook for another minute or so, until fragrant.

Toss your sliced vegetables in the heavy cream, salt, pepper, and 1/3 of your cheese.

Top with the caramelized onions.

And finish topping with your remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until golden and bubbly and the vegetables are tender.

Serve alongside your main dish and enjoy!

The Best Turnip Au Gratin Recipe Ever! Can you say HELLO to these delicious little gems — yep they are gems! Have you ever cooked with turnips before? If you haven’t, don’t worry. Neither had I, to be honest. I never knew what to do with them. Then in this week’s CSA box, there were 3 of them right in front of me and I said, “Looks like it’s time for me to create a delicious turnip au gratin recipe”, so that is just what I did!

Everything is better when it is au gratin, wouldn’t you agree?

Yay-yay-yay, I get it…probably not the most healthy of recipes out there but as I always say, everything in moderation!

I mean who doesn’t love the gooeyness of cheese? Got your attention yet?

This recipe is super easy and just requires a tad bit of layering and a few ingredients and it is ready to pop in the oven!

And once it comes out, it will be bubbly and absolutely beautiful! Can you taste it now?

Is this deliciousness coming through your screen yet?

How about now, can you taste it yet? Creamy, buttery, and absolute deliciousness!

Now go out and get you some turnips already, what are you waiting for?

How to Fix Gluey Mashed Potatoes

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Mashed potatoes are a great side dish for a variety of meals, but they’re a little less tasty when they have a gluey and gummy consistency. Unfortunately, there’s no magic ingredient that can return your potatoes to a fluffier state—but that doesn’t mean your current batch has to go to waste! Instead, make a new, smaller batch of fluffier mashed potatoes to mix in with the gluey ones. If you’re looking for a less time-consuming process, transfer your gluey mashed potatoes to a baking dish and sprinkle them with a few ingredients to make a gratin. With a little extra time and creativity, you’ll be ready to serve a delicious potato side dish!