Everyone is always eagerly anticipating the arrival of spring and the excitement of the fresh vegetables that begin to grow. And I love that, too. Then the overwhelming bounty of summer, when there is so much fresh produce, there is hardly time to sample it all. But I love winter vegetables, too. Rich, hearty root vegetables in a beautiful palate of colors.
These sturdy vegetables go well with so many flavors – herbs and spices of all sorts, and work wonderfully well – roasted, mashed, pureed, in soups, stews, and gratins. I think some of these knobbly beauties are the unsung heroes of the vegetable world, but I am here to sing their praises.
I love this dish for its homey charm and the creative twist – turning the idea of a summer fruit crumble into a hearty winter vegetable dish. This can be served as a side to a roasted joint of meat or as an impressive vegetarian main course. The combination of vegetables below marries into a perfect array of colors and contrasting flavors, but you can sub in other roots in the same quantities.
Root vegetables with walnut sage crumble
For the vegetables
1 celeriac (celery root), about 14 ounces
3 carrots, about 6 ounces
1 large parsnip, about 7 ounces
1 sweet potato, about 12 ounces
1-2/3 cups vegetable stock
1 (8 ounce) tub crème fraiche
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
4 to 5 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
For the crumble
3/4 cup walnuts
6 sage leaves
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Wash, peel, and chop the celeriac, carrots, parsnips and sweet potato. Cut all the vegetables into roughly the same size pieces, about 1/2 inch. Chop the leeks into half moons and rinse thoroughly.
2. Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the root vegetables and stir, then add the leeks and cover the pot. Cook for 10 minutes.
3. While the vegetables are cooking, stir together the crème fraiche, flour, mustard and chopped sage until thoroughly combined. When the vegetables have cooked, stir through the crème fraiche until everything is fully coated. Season to taste. Spoon the vegetables into a 2-quart baking dish and set aside to cool.
For the crumble
1. Pulse the walnuts and sage leaves together until you have a fine meal. Add the flour and the butter, cut into small chunks, and process until you have a nice crumbly topping. Add the Parmesan and pulse briefly to mix.
2. Spread the crumble topping over the vegetables. At this point, you can cover the dish and refrigerate several hours or overnight. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cook the crumble until heated through and golden brown on top. Serve immediately.
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