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Celeriac, Potato & Porcini / Cep / 'Forest Mix' Gratin
An excellent gratin that's easy to make, and makes a lunch dish when served with a side salad - or feeds more if used as a vegetable side dish. The cooking time is given for King Edward Potatoes, if you use a waxy type, you'll have to cook the dish for an extra 10 minutes. A blend of 'Forest Mix' is an excellent mushroom alternative.
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For 6 generous helpings:
1.4 litres/ 2½ pints Full Fat Milk
½ teaspoon Ground Allspice
1 large Sliver of Lemon Zest (with as little white pith as possible)
A little butter for greasing the baking dish
420gr/14 oz Celeriac
360gr/12 oz Potatoes - King Edwards or Desirée are ideal
30-40gr/1-1½ Dried Porcini/Ceps or equal quantuty of 'Forest Mix'
1 tablespoon (15ml) Vegetable Oil
2 medium Onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 medium cloves Garlic, peeled and finely-chopped
90gr/3 oz Butter
60gr/2 oz Flour
120gr/4 oz Freshly-grated Strong Cheddar (keeping 30gr/1 oz back for the final scattering)
A few big sprigs of Fresh Parsley, chopped
Equipment needed: a deep lasagne/shepherds pie type ovenproof dish
1. Heat the milk with the powdered allspice, bay leaf and lemon zest until it's almost boiling. Remove it from the heat and allow it cool, when it will absorb the flavours.
2. Put the dried mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and cover them with hot water, and allow these to stand for 20 minutes.
3. Heat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4, and lightly butter the ovenproof dish.
4. Heat the vegetable oil over a gently heat, and 'sweat' them for 5 minutes until they are translucent, increase the heat to medium and fry for a further 2 minutes to give them a little colour, add the chopped garlic, mix this well in and remove from the heat.
5. Remove the dried mushrooms from their liquid, keeping this, and chop them roughly. Add the mushrooms to the onion mixture and add the liquid to the milk.
6. Peel the potatoes, then slice them as thinly as possible - set them aside (the natural starch on the potatoes will help thicken the dish.
7. Peel and thinly-slice the celeriac.
8. Melt the 60gr of butter gently, then remove from the heat and blend in the flour to make a smooth paste (roux).
9. Over a low heat, slowly add the milk, a little at a time stirring constantly so you don't get any lumps. When it has all been added, bring to a simmer, and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove this from the heat.
10. Arrange a layer of potatoes over the bottom of the baking dish, then a layer of celeriac then a layer of mushrooms and a scattering of parsley and cheese. Repeat this until you have used all the ingredients.
11. Pour over the thickened sauce, then a final scattering of cheese.
12. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 50 minutes, by which time a sharp knife should go in easily and the top golden.
Serve hot or later at room temperature.