Winter vegetable pie
Parsnips, celery root, turnips, carrots, and pearl onions fill this vegetarian version of shepherd’s pie. The top is made from mashed potatoes (use russets, which are starchy and beat up nicely), mixed with chives, parsley, and cheddar.
3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
Salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 cup milk, heated until hot
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut up
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or scallion tops
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated cheddar
1. In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, a generous pinch of salt, and cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are when pierced with a skewer.
2. Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 1 minute to dry them slightly. With a potato masher, mash the potatoes while slowly adding the hot milk. Add the butter. With a wire whisk, beat vigorously until fluffy. Blend in the chives or scallions, parsley, and cheddar. Add salt and pepper.
Butter (for the dish)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large parsnips, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch lengths
4 large carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 celery root, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 turnips, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups (8 or 9 ounces) frozen pearl onions
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste
5 cups vegetable stock
1. Set the oven at 425 degrees. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.
2. In a small bowl, blend the butter and flour until smooth.
3. In a large flameproof casserole over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add the parsnips, carrots, celery root, turnips, frozen onions, thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are lightly browned.
4. Add 1 cup of the vegetable stock. Cook, stirring often, until it comes to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 12 minutes or until the vegetables are tender but still have some bite. With a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to the baking dish.
5. Add the remaining 4 cups stock to the pan and bring to a boil. Whisk in the butter and flour mixture until smooth. Simmer for 1 minute. Add salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the vegetables in the baking dish.
6. Distribute large spoonfuls of mashed potatoes over the vegetables. Spread with a fork and, if you like, make a wave pattern with the tines of the fork.
7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the top is golden. Sally Pasley Vargas