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Creamy Potato-Parsnip Gratin

Creamy Potato-Parsnip Gratin

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  • 2 1/3 pounds unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 2/3 pounds large parsnips, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch thick rounds

Recipe Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange 1/3 of potatoes in even layer in dish. Top with bay leaves, then 1/2 of parsnips. Top with 1/3 of potatoes, remaining parsnips, then remaining potatoes, sprinkling each layer with salt and pepper. Pour cream and half and half over. Cover dish with foil. Bake until vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Uncover and let stand at room temperature.

  • Bake gratin uncovered at 450°F until sauce bubbles thickly and top is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes; serve.

Reviews Section

For the potato and parsnip gratin

  • 55g/2oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 300g/10½oz gruyère, grated
  • 300g/10½oz strong cheddar, grated
  • 200g/7oz Stilton, crumbled
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves removed
  • 1 litre/1¾ pints double cream
  • pinch grated fresh nutmeg
  • pinch salt
  • pinch white pepper

For the venison

  • 100ml/3½fl oz olive oil
  • 1 fresh oregano sprig, leaves removed
  • 1 tbsp garlic purée
  • 800g/1lb 12oz venison rump
  • 150ml/¼ pint red wine
  • 150g/5½oz unsalted butter, diced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 8 medium red or white new potatoes, washed and cubed
  • 4 parsnips, peeled and cubed
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
  • Dash of cayenne
  • Several grindings of black pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon salt

Put the potatoes and parsnips in a large pot with water, making sure that the water completely covers them. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium, then cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally with a spoon. Test the tenderness of the potatoes with a fork they should pierce easily and be tender, yet firm. Drain any remaining liquid and mash the potatoes with a potato masher until there are no visible lumps. Add the milk and butter and continue to mash until the potatoes are smooth and creamy. Stir in the parsley, cayenne, black pepper, and salt, and beat thoroughly with a wooden spoon until all the seasonings are completely mixed in. Cover and serve warm.

Creamy Potato-Parsnip Gratin - Recipes

I give you a virtual high five for the low-carb joke.

Just a head's up - If you're going to use a mandolin with just your hand, consider buying this glove. That's an Amazon link. You may be able to find a better deal if you search around.

They really work. And you can go so much faster if you don't use that guide that comes with it. And you can do it safely.

Hey!! I'm not irritable :P I'm also 30 lbs lighter then I was mid October. I'll give it a try with turnips and celery root.I'm sure it will be awesome.

Another great video! I will be trying this one soon.

How much stock do you add? I dont see it on the ingrediant list.

I love it, can't wait to try this in weekend. Thanks for sharing it. I am may a personal chef in austin tx but I love your works. Thanks again .

Parsnips are great! Just try them oven roast with some olive oil, salt and herbs! They go all nutty and good!
Your recipe looks great, too, might try it in the weekend!

hey chef john, this looks like a way I can sneak myself some parsnips. a parsnipslip! that was a good one, missed the badum bum drum effect LOL. I hate them by themselves, but have been fooled by turkey and chicken soups that have hid them. I think you got this one bang on.I will be making this for my wife and fatherinlaw who love parsnips
anyway.God bless from willy in newfoundland canada

Delicious recipe incorporating parsnips (and I'm not pars-tial to them either). I added thinly sliced pasilla peppers for a bit of kick, layered vertically on the 1st layer and horizontally on the 2nd layer. Really added the extra post-cayenne kick we were looking for. Thanks Chef John.

Finally. Something to do with all those parsnips sitting in the crisper!

Tried it yesterday. So easy, so good !

I don't know why, but I am extremely tempted to add a bit of truffle oil to this recipe.

I usually roast my parsnips in a little oil some garlic and herbs, lovely!
This recipe was lovely but I couldnt taste the parsnips in it, I suppose thats the point, yes?
Needed to cook it a while longer as my potatoes were still a bit raw after cooking time stated. Im in uk, so I used maris piper, dont know where to get russet.

Would this dish be able to be prepped ahead or should it be done all fresh?

What cheese to put on top of a Gratin?

We used mozzarella cheese so that the kids would enjoy it too, but a mature cheddar or Parmesan will give a richer taste. Gruyere cheese is also a great choice.

Sprinkle over with as much cheese as you wish!

What temperature and how long to cook Root Vegetable Gratin?

Bake on the middle shelf at 160C/320F fan oven for 30 minutes.

8 Secrets For a Moist & Juicy Roast Turkey

The secret to a good potato gratin is in the technique, and this one is simple. To start, thinly sliced potatoes (plus other root vegetables, if you like) are simmered in seasoned liquid (cream, milk, broth, or a combination) until barely tender. After that, the potatoes are layered in a casserole dish with flavor boosters (such as fresh herbs, sautéed vegetables, grated cheese, crisp bacon), and topped with breadcrumbs, cheese, or nuts. A quick bake and you’re done.

The advantages to this method are several: simmering gives the potatoes more opportunity to soak up flavor starches are released into the liquid earlier, which helps prevent curdling during baking and the top layer of the potatoes remains moist.

There are only three fundamental components to any potato gratin—the potatoes, the liquid, and the top crust. The best gratin potatoes are medium-starch, buttery Yukon Golds. As opposed to russets, which drink up all the liquid and make a drier gratin, and waxy potatoes, which don’t absorb enough, Yukon Golds soak up plenty of liquid but still leave discernible layers in your finished gratin.

Finally, in order to qualify as a gratin, the casserole needs a top crust. You can make it simple with a scattering of breadcrumbs and cheese, or you can add your favorite nuts for crunch. See below for options.

It’s important to read the entire method through before you start so you can decide which optional ingredients you want in your gratin.

The whole gratin serves 8

Prep the potatoes (and root veggies)

All of these gratins start with layers of tender, sliced Yukon Gold potatoes. But if you like, you can supplement the potatoes with other root vegetables, as long as you have 2 to 2-1/2 lb. total.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Butter or oil a 3-quart gratin dish set aside.

Peel and slice 2 to 2-1/2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes OR use one of the potato-root vegetable combinations below.

Choose your potato base

All Potatoes: Yukon Golds, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch-thick rounds

Potato-butternut squash: butternut squash (neck only), peeled and sliced 1/8-inch-thick

Potato-celery root: celery root, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch-thick

Potato-parsnip: parsnips, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch-thick

Potato-rutabaga: rutabaga, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch-thick

Potato-sweet potato: sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch-thick rounds

Potato-turnip: turnips, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch-thick

Add the liquids

For a classic gratin—rich, creamy, indulgent—heavy cream is key. But you can also use light cream, or a mixture of cream and milk. An all-milk or milk-broth gratin will tend to curdle, but you can go with all-broth for the lightest option.

Put the potatoes (and root vegetables, if using) in a 12-inch skillet with 2-1/2 cups liquid (see options below). Add 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Simmer, partially covered, over medium to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and gently with a rubber spatula until barely tender when pierced with a fork or skewer, 8 to 12 minutes. Add another 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. salt if you’re not adding any other salty ingredients in the next steps (such as bacon, cheese, or well-seasoned sautéed vegetables).

Choose one or more liquids for a total of 2-1/2 cups

Cream (heavy or light)


Whole or lowfat milk

Lower-salt chicken broth

Prep meat add-ins (if using)

A salty cured meat like pancetta or bacon isn’t essential, but it gives the gratin another layer of flavor.

If you’ve chosen ham, Canadian bacon, or proscuitto for your meat (see choices below), they need no pre-cooking. If you’ve chosen bacon, pancetta, or sausage, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 4 to 6 oz. meat (optional see choices below) and cook until browned and fully cooked. Transfer to a plate. If you’re using bacon or pancetta, reserve 2 Tbs. of the drippings for cooking the vegetables in the next step. If using bacon or sausage, crumble it when it’s cool.

Choose a meat (optional)


Diced pancetta

Chopped smoked ham

Chopped Canadian bacon

Thinly sliced and coarsely chopped prosciutto

Hot Italian sausage (casings removed)

Sweet Italian sausage (casings removed)

Prep vegetable add-ins (if using)

These vegetables get sautéed until tender and then layered between the root vegetables. Just make sure anything you choose here complements your potato base.

Heat 1 or 2 Tbs. butter, oil, or bacon or pancetta fat in a large skillet over medium-high. Add your chosen vegetable (see options below), and sauté until tender and lightly browned. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If using more than one vegetable, sauté each separately (except for garlic, which can be combined with another vegetable at the end of cooking.)

Choose up to 3 vegetables (optional)

Thinly sliced yellow onions: up to 1 lb.

Thinly sliced shallots: up to 1 lb.

Thinly sliced fennel bulb: 1 large (3/4 to 1 lb., trimmed, halved and cored)

Thinly sliced mushrooms (button, shiitake, cremini, or a mix): up to 1 lb.

Thinly sliced leeks: up to 3 medium (about 3/4 lb., trimmed white and light-green parts only)

Artichoke hearts: 4-oz. can, drained, and coarsely chopped

Garlic: 2 cloves, minced

Layer your ingredients

A jolt of fresh green herbs or a sharp spice can help break up the overwhelming richness of the gratin. If you want to add cheese, keep in mind that Gruyère is a classic addition, but other cheeses will bring new dimensions and are worth trying.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer half the potato/root vegetables to the gratin dish, spreading them evenly. Layer on your meat and cooked vegetables, 6 oz. of your chosen cheese (optional see choices below), and your choice of herbs or spices (see options below), arranging them evenly on top of the potatoes. Top with the remaining potatoes/root vegetables, spreading them evenly, and pour over any liquid remaining in the pan.

Choose up to 2 cheeses for a total of 6 oz. (optional)

Grated Cheddar

Grated Gruyère

Grated Comté

Grated Fontina

Grated Emmentaler

Grated aged Gouda or Beaufort

Fresh or aged crumbled or grated goat cheese: no more than 2/3 cup

Crumbled mild blue cheese, such as Danish or Gorgonzola dolce: no more than 2/3 cup

Choose 2 to 4 herbs and spices

Chopped fresh parsley: 1 to 2 Tbs.

Chopped fresh thyme: 2 to 3 tsp.

Chopped fresh rosemary: 1 to 2 tsp.

Smoked paprika: 1/2 tsp.

Freshly grated nutmeg: 1/4 tsp.

Cayenne: 1 pinch

Top & bake

To qualify as a gratin, the casserole should have a top crust. Traditionally, this is a scattering of breadcrumbs and cheese, but sprinkling the gratin with an optional topping like chopped nuts is another alternative for both added texture and flavor.

Combine your topping choices (see options below) in a small bowl. Evenly scatter your choice of toppings over the potatoes.

Bake the gratin until it’s bubbly, the top is brown, and the potatoes are completely tender when poked with a fork or skewer, 25 to 30 minutes. Let the gratin sit for at least 10 and up to 30 minutes before serving so the liquid is fully absorbed and the layers are cohesive.

Choose your topping

Fresh breadcrumbs: 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. melted butter

Finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano: 1/4 cup

Finely grated Grana Padano: 1/4 cup

Finely grated Pecorino Romano: 1/4 cup

Finely grated Gruyère: 1/2 cup

Finely grated Emmentaler: 1/2 cup

Finely grated Comté: 1/2 cup

Finely grated sharp Cheddar: 1/2 cup

Coarsely chopped pecans: 1/4 to 1/2 cup

Coarsely chopped walnuts: 1/4 to 1/2 cup

Coarsely chopped almonds: 1/4 to 1/2 cup

Gratin tips

How to prep leftovers: You can store tightly wrapped leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To reheat, cover with foil and bake in a 350°F oven for about 30 minutes.

How to cut the serving size: A whole gratin serves eight. To feed fewer people, follow the method, cutting all the amounts in half. Use a tightly covered 10-inch skillet to simmer the potatoes, and bake in a 1-1/2-quart baking dish.

  • 5 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 4 cups)
  • 5 large parsnips, peeled, cored (see Tips) and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 4 cups)
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white or black pepper
  • 2 ½ cups low-fat milk
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Tips) or 1/2 cup shredded or crumbled cheese

Position racks in upper and lower third of oven preheat to 425 degrees F.

Toss carrots and parsnips in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil until well coated. Divide between 2 baking sheets and spread in an even layer. Roast the vegetables, stirring once and rotating the pans top to bottom about halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add milk and continue to stir, scraping up any browned bits. Cook, stirring, until the sauce bubbles and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. (See Tips)

When the vegetables are done, remove from the oven. Preheat the broiler.

Transfer half the carrots and parsnips to a 2-quart, broiler-safe baking dish. Spread half the sauce over the vegetables. Add the remaining vegetables and top with the remaining sauce.

Combine breadcrumbs and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl (skip this step if you are topping with cheese).

Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture (or cheese) over the gratin. Place under the broiler and broil, watching closely, until the gratin is bubbling and beginning to brown on top, 1 to 5 minutes, depending on your broiler. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead Tip: Roast vegetables (Step 2) up to 30 minutes ahead. Prepare the sauce (Step 3), cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day gently reheat until steaming before combining with the vegetables.

To prep parsnips, peel with a vegetable peeler, then quarter lengthwise and cut out the fibrous, woody core with a paring knife before dicing.

To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs.

To add extra flavor to the cream sauce, at the end of Step 3 stir in 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, sage or parsley. Or make it cheesy by stirring in 1/2 cup shredded or crumbled cheese, such as Gruyère, Swiss, Cheddar or blue cheese.

Keep food fresh: If you're storing food in your fridge for a few hours or more, it's best to keep it in an airtight container or in a container covered tightly with foil. Foil is best at creating a barrier that doesn't let unwanted flavors in (or out) while you store your food.

Potato and Parsnip Gratin with Bacon and Mustard

This creamy gratin is taken to the next level by combining both potatoes and parsnips. If you haven’t eaten many parsnips before, this is a delicious recipe to try them out and experience their subtle nutty flavour.

  • ½ lb. bacon, chopped
  • ½ tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 small Gwillimdale Farms onion, finely sliced
  • 1lb Gwillimdale Farms potatoes (yellow or white)
  • 1 lb Gwillimdale Farms parsnips
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves, divided
  • 1 ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1 2/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 heaping tablespoon grainy mustard
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Place the bacon in a medium Dutch oven or similar-sized pot and cook gently over medium-low heat to allow the fat to melt. When crispy, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Add the olive oil to bacon fat in the pan, followed by the onion, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring regularly, until softened.
  4. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and parsnips and slice into 1-inch-thick rounds.
  5. Add the garlic to the pot with the onions and cook for one minute. Add the bay leaf and half of the thyme, followed by the cream, sour cream, milk, mustard, and a pinch of nutmeg. Season well with salt and pepper.
  6. Heat until steaming, and carefully add the potatoes and parsnips to the pot. Simmer gently for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to soften. Discard the bay leaf.
  7. Pour half of the mixture into a shallow 9 x 13-inch baking dish, then scatter over half of the bacon. Top with the remaining potato and parsnip mixture and sprinkle over the remaining bacon and thyme.
  8. Cover tightly with a sheet of lightly oiled foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes, until golden, bubbling and tender. Leave to stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

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Potato, parsnip and fennel bake

Kudos to the maitre d’ at a local restaurant. Upon being seated, we noticed our water glasses were dirty and had red lipstick marks upon them. After politely asking him for clean vessels he picked them up, examined them closely and as he walked away loudly announced, ‘Sure, well Holy Rats Arse!’

My friend and I looked at each other. ‘Did he really say that?’ I asked. ‘Yes’, said my friend, ‘Yes, he did.’ We are open minded people yet this unwaiterly proclamation managed to surprise, horrify and strangely, delight us. Hilarity ensued and we continued to repeat this phrase (quietly) throughout the surprisingly delicious meal.

Upon finishing, we walked to the front to ask if we could split our bill. He did, albeit begrudgingly and his farewell response to us was, ‘Rock on ladies.’ This bloke is taking customer service to another level. Not necessarily towards the lofty echelons of fine dining but to a very special and individual level nonetheless.

This is surely The Year of the Gratin. I am a woman obsessed. As this dish was baking giant cheesy, thyme-scented metaphorical arms reached out from the oven and hugged me close. Whispering in bubbling, soothing tones, ‘There, there, everything will be allright.’

Aniseed fennel, slightly spicy parsnip, creamy potato and herbaceous, sweet grassy cheese. This is a wondrous combination. It’s a dish that may even cause you to utter a colloquialism that involves the sacred posterior of a rodent. If one was so inclined.


4 potatoes, peeled and finely sliced (600g)
4 medium size parsnip, peeled and finely sliced (500g)
1 medium size fennel bulb, finely sliced
300 ml cream (you can use 250ml of cream and 50ml of sour cream for extra tang)
1/4 cup milk
2 garlic cloves, crushed very finely
1 tbl fresh thyme, picked
A dash of nutmeg
150g Gruyere cheese, grated (I used the wonderful Heidi Gruyere from Tasmania for a bit of a treat)
Salt and pepper to season
Extra thyme

Preheat the oven to 180C and use butter or oil to grease a large baking dish.
Layer the potato, parsnip, fennel and season with salt and pepper then sprinkle on half of the cheese. (Leaving enough cheese to sprinkle on the top.)
Place another layer of potato, parsnip and fennel and season with salt and pepper again.
Warm the cream, milk, garlic, thyme and nutmeg in a small saucepan over a low heat for five to ten minutes until the flavours are infused and the cream has thinned a little. Seasons lightly and gently pour this mixture over the vegetables.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the gratin and chuck a few extra thyme leaves over the top.
Cover with foil loosely (making sure the cheese doesn’t touch the foil) and bake for 50 minutes.
Remove the foil carefully (watch that precious cheese) and bake for another 40 minutes or until the vegetables pierce easily with a knife and the top is golden brown and bubbly.
Remove from the oven and let it sit for ten minutes to allow the gratin to settle before devouring.

A Cheergerm recipe based on a few hundred million different gratin recipes