Celeriac and Potato Gratin, with crispy bacon and smoked Cheddar cheese
It’s nearly a week later and I’m only getting around to cooking the Celeriac (celery root) and Potato Gratin, at last. And I’m so glad I did as this was ridiculously tasty. Especially for a recipe that has so few ingredients and very easy to make. I’m still not sure of the celeriac’s aftertaste, though. It’s a bit like fennel – not my favourite.
A little bit of an update: I probably won’t use celeriac in this again. Instead, I’d far prefer it replaced with the same weight of leek, white part only (without onion). Celeriac’s aftertaste just isn’t my thing! Besides, after making this again I purposely kept the celeriac thicker than the potatoes, and they still turned out soppy – if that makes sense. Slightly mushy, I suppose.
Celeriac and Potato Gratin
- olive oil
- 2 x rashers streaky bacon (per person), pan-fried and broken into bits when cool enough to handle
- 100ml (0.21 US pt lqd) x water
- 1/2 x organic very low salt vegetable stock cube
- 1 x dried bay leaf – optional
- up to 120g (4.23 oz) x celeriac (weight after peeling), peeled, either sliced quite thinly (about the same or a little thicker than the potatoes – se below) or cubed (add to acidulated water to prevent discolouration)
- 1/2 x juice of lemon, roll the lemon under palms which helps to extract juice
- water for the lemon, about a ratio of 3:1
- 200g (7.05 oz) x round white potatoes (weight after peeling, peeled and sliced crossways into thin discs (about 4 – 5 mm or 2 – 3 tenths of an inch). Place potatoes in cold water to prevent discolouration as they’re being prepped
- 1/2 x medium onion (about 60g or 2.11 oz in total used), top slice off, peeled and sliced crossways about the same thickness as the potatoes
- 1 x smallish garlic clove, peeled, trimmed and either crushed or sliced – optional
- about 30ml (0.06 US pt lqd) x single/light cream, less or more to personal taste
- about 50g (1.76 oz) x smoked Cheddar cheese with a hint of paprika, sliced, more to personal taste
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- Pan-fry the bacon in a pan/skillet over moderate heat until nicely golden and crisp on both sides. Take off heat, transfer with a slotted spoon unto kitchen paper/towel. When cool enough to handle either break or chop into small pieces. Within comments below Kiki asked if the bacon goes soggy. Well, if the fat is nicely golden it won’t, or at least it never does for me. If there’s any white fat that will go soggy and taste a tad slimy. I always remove any white fat and discard it. See photo directly below instructions for how my bacon looks before breaking it into pieces.
- Prep the stock by dissolving the half stock cube in water and put on electric heat No 2 (out of 6). If using a bay leaf add that as well. Once fully dissolved take off heat.
- Prep the acidulated water by juicing the lemon and pouring that through a sieve into a suitable bowl. As the celeriac is prepped at to the water at once.
- Have a suitable bowl or container for the potatoes to be able to place those inside and covered with water.
- Preheat oven to 200°C, 400°F or Gas 6.
- Using an ovenproof dish (mine is 14cm or 5½ ins in diameter and almost 5cm or 2 ins in depth) place a layer of potatoes on the bottom, then a layer of both celeriac and potatoes and onions (and garlic if using). Keep layering until all are used. For the potatoes on the top drizzle over some olive oil to ensure that they will turn nicely golden. Add enough stock and cream to come up by about 2/3 (don’t fill completely as it can bubble and drip over its edge), dot the top with smoked Cheddar cheese and bake in the oven until the top is nicely golden and the runny sauce is bubbling. Mine took about 45 minutes on the second shelf up using electric to get the stock bubbling and the cheese nicely golden.
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