Home > sides, sides > Mini Root Vegetable Gratin

Mini Root Vegetable Gratin

Okay – it feels weird calling it a gratin with no cheese – but technically it meets the requirements (browned crust on top) and I like the way it sounds. This recipe is homey, smooth, and does not skimp on the cream. Quite simply it is to be enjoyed in small portions on special occasions – but the taste is worth every calorie-laden bite – warm creamy and earthy with a hint of nutmeg. Whenever I make it the whole house smells like coming home to the farm (my mom makes the best pumpkin pies) – prompting me to want to eat the entire artery-clogging pan of it before my guests even arrive. Usually I refrain.

I have these really cute mini-cocottes my parents-in-law gave me on their return from Paris last year. They are so cute I almost don’t want to use them – almost. I got a set of 4 – along with a Le Creuset cookbook which feels especially authentic being in French. Luckily I speak French – but have yet to try a recipe from the cookbook – but there is a Tatin in there that looks to die for. Hmm … thoughts for another day.

On to today’s adventure. As I was flipping through Patrick O’ Connell’s cookbook for the chicken recipe I posted last week I caught sight of one of my favorite fall recipes – carrots, parsnips and potatoes simmered gently in a nutmeg cream sauce before being roasted in a hot oven until the tops are crispy and golden. It is not something you make for your weeknight supper – but will steal the show at Thanksgiving or Christmas. So in honour of American Thanksgiving (which I fully plan to celebrate on Thursday even though we live in Canada) – enjoy.

Mom-O-Meter 4/5

The great thing about this recipe is that it can be prepared in advance and thrown in the fridge for up to 24 hours – then finished in the oven for 25 minutes. This means that if you like you can make it and then just pop it in to finish after the turkey comes out. You will have to at some point peel and slice potatoes, parsnips, carrots and an onion – which can be easily accomplished with a food processor – or you can do it old school like I do with a sharp knife: there is something gratifying about the sound of carrots and parsnips being chopped – probably because it is so easy.

Recipe adapted from Patrick O’Connells Refined American Cuisine “Potato Gratin with Parsnips and Carrots”


1 small onion
3 medium potatoes
2 large parsnips
3 large carrots
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
2 cups (1 medium container) whipping cream
large pinch of nutmeg (grind your own f possible)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp white pepper (or regular)


1. Peel and slice carrots and parsnips on a bit of a bias so that the pieces are a bit longer. Slice potatoes to 1/4 inch. Thinly slice onion.

2. Preheat oven to 400. Put half the butter in a pan and sautee the onions until translucent. Add the cream and milk and simmer gently for around 10 minutes or until sauce thickens a bit more. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg – followed by gently sliding in the vegetables and ensuring they are well covered with sauce.

3. Simmer them for 10-15 minutes or until almost cooked. Put into 6 buttered ramekins or other small pans (or one large – not too deep casserole) and bake for around 20 minutes – depending on how brown you would like the tops.

  1. November 21, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Love Patrick O’Connell, love the do-ahead, and love the mini dishes!!

  2. November 23, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Ohhhhhh….I want to eat this up immediately! The weather has actually turned cold here in Vancouver (I know, I can’t complain, but the West Coast has weakened my winter resolve!) — I’ve been in dire need of some comfort food to warm up with 🙂 YUM!

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