Root Vegetable Overload

I don’t know what happened. It couldn't have been my fault. I was just standing outside, the sun was muted by cold fog, and in need of steadying, comfort, I reached out for something hard and sturdy. Sure enough it was a rutabaga – a nice big white and purple one. (The purple side is the part that saw the sun growing up.) And then, before I knew what was happening, teenage parsnips, celery roots and all kinds of knobby, occasionally hairy, root vegetables were jumping into my bag, giggling over how they would soon begin tormenting me.

And they did. Waking me up in the middle of the night with: “You are responsible for us now. How will we spend our last days!?!”

I poured over recipes for each one – apparently each goes well with potatoes – but potatoes I know. Potatoes I left at the stand for another week. Procrastinating, I tried to ignore the pounds of root veggies while I focused on those with a shorter fridge-life. But with each salad and sauté, the roots made their existence known. “Don’t you dare take our patience for granted,” they hissed.

Finally, I gave in. With three hours of undivided attention, I coaxed them all into this savory pie adapted (read, simplified) from a Bon Appetit recipe. Over the last few days, we have eaten this as dinner and lunch entrées, as well as a side dish and I have to say it gets better with age. Highly recommend getting the veggies together at least a day in advance to let the flavors meld.

Savory Winter Pie
Serves 4 as an entrée, 6-8 as a side dish

Amounts are flexible and forgiving. Basically you just want 5-6 cups chopped root vegetables of any variety. Here’s what I did this time around:

2 carrots
2 small celery roots (celeriac)
1 large rutabaga
2 small parsnips
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, broken into half-inch pieces
4 cups broth

1 Tbs butter
1.5 cups chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbs dried rosemary, minced
¼ cup all purpose flour (I use a gluten-free flour as I am a glu-tard.*)
2 Tbs milk or cream
2 Tbs brandy
½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
ground cayenne and black pepper to taste

1 cup plus 2 Tbs all purpose flour
½ Tbs baking powder
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
½ tsp salt
3 Tbs chilled butter
¾ cup chilled buttermilk

Peel and chop root vegetables. Add to boiling broth with porcinis. Add water to cover. Simmer until veggies are just tender, about 6 min. Drain veggies and reserve the broth.

In large pot, melt butter. Add and sauté onions. Ditto with garlic and rosemary. Mix in flour. Stir one minute before adding reserved broth, milk and brandy. Bring to a boil and reduce to about 2 cups, whisking often (about 7 min.) Add vegetables, parsley and ground peppers.

Prepare pie pan by greasing with butter and an optional sprinkling of breadcrumbs. Add filling. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, until bubbling. Or chill 1-2 days and then bake.

While filling is baking, make mix biscuit batter. Combine all dry ingredients. Slice in butter and crumble through your hands until flour is consistency of cornmeal. Gradually mix in buttermilk.

Spoon batter in mounds over hot filling. Bake another 45 minutes, until test skewer or toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10-15 minutes. Serve.

*a glu-tard is restaurant-speak for someone with celiac

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