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Potato, Parsnip and Porcini Gratin

by . Featured in NIGELLA CHRISTMAS
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Introduction

Cooking potatoes for large numbers of people is not always easy. This gratin makes it so, not least because I don’t peel the potatoes (or the parsnips for that matter). Obviously, you don’t need to make it ahead, but knowing you can is a help. There is a fabulously musky scent to this gratin, which comes in part from the star anise, in part from the porcini, and also from the culinary alchemy of all the ingredients together. And the thing is, for something so sweetly comforting, it is – I cannot explain why – somehow grand and exquisite, too.

Cooking potatoes for large numbers of people is not always easy. This gratin makes it so, not least because I don’t peel the potatoes (or the parsnips for that matter). Obviously, you don’t need to make it ahead, but knowing you can is a help. There is a fabulously musky scent to this gratin, which comes in part from the star anise, in part from the porcini, and also from the culinary alchemy of all the ingredients together. And the thing is, for something so sweetly comforting, it is – I cannot explain why – somehow grand and exquisite, too.

Potato, Parsnip and Porcini Gratin
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Serves: 8

Metric Cups
  • 10 grams dried porcini (or ceps)
  • 150 millilitres boiling water (from a kettle)
  • 50 grams butter
  • 1 tablespoon garlic infused olive oil
  • 500 millilitres full fat milk
  • 500 millilitres double cream
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon maldon salt (or ½ teaspoon table salt)
  • good grinding pepper
  • 900 grams potatoes
  • 900 grams parsnips
  • ⅓ cup dried porcini (or ceps)
  • ⅔ cup boiling water (from a kettle)
  • ½ stick butter
  • 1 tablespoon garlic flavored oil
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes (or ½ teaspoon table salt)
  • good grinding pepper
  • 2 pounds potatoes
  • 2 pounds parsnips

Method

  1. Soak the porcini in the boiling water for about 20–30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7/450ºF. Heat the butter and garlic oil in a large pan.
  3. Drain the porcini, reserving the liquid, then finely chop the mushrooms and add them to the pan to cook for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the mushroom-liquid, milk, cream, star anise and salt and pepper.
  5. Without peeling the potatoes or parsnips, slice them into 1cm round slices and add to the pan.
  6. Bring the pan to a bubbling simmer and then gently cook, partially covered, for 20 minutes, or until the potato and parsnip are tender but not mushy.
  7. Decant into a gratin-type, ovenproof dish (mine is a round shallow casserole, about 30cm x 7cm deep / about 5-quart capacity).
  8. Cook in the oven for about 40 minutes (it will need longer if you have cooked it ahead and left it to cool before putting in the oven) or until the top is coloured in places and the gratin looks bubbly underneath.
  1. Soak the porcini in the boiling water for about 20–30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7/450ºF. Heat the butter and garlic oil in a large pan.
  3. Drain the porcini, reserving the liquid, then finely chop the mushrooms and add them to the pan to cook for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the mushroom-liquid, milk, cream, star anise and salt and pepper.
  5. Without peeling the potatoes or parsnips, slice them into 1cm round slices and add to the pan.
  6. Bring the pan to a bubbling simmer and then gently cook, partially covered, for 20 minutes, or until the potato and parsnip are tender but not mushy.
  7. Decant into a gratin-type, ovenproof dish (mine is a round shallow casserole, about 30cm x 7cm deep / about 5-quart capacity).
  8. Cook in the oven for about 40 minutes (it will need longer if you have cooked it ahead and left it to cool before putting in the oven) or until the top is coloured in places and the gratin looks bubbly underneath.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Decant the vegetables into the gratin dish and leave to cool. Cover tightly with clingfilm and keep in the fridge for up to 1 day. To cook, leave the dish at room temperature for about 40 minutes. Cook in the oven as directed.

FREEZE AHEAD TIP: Cool and cover the vegetables as above, then freeze for up to 1 week. To use, thaw overnight in the fridge, and cook as above.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Decant the vegetables into the gratin dish and leave to cool. Cover tightly with clingfilm and keep in the fridge for up to 1 day. To cook, leave the dish at room temperature for about 40 minutes. Cook in the oven as directed.

FREEZE AHEAD TIP: Cool and cover the vegetables as above, then freeze for up to 1 week. To use, thaw overnight in the fridge, and cook as above.

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What 1 Other has said

  • So easy to make, loved it and would make again .

    Posted by maxine22 on 3rd December 2011
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