4-27: Mushroom-Parsnip Au Gratin

It’s been a hell of a month, y’all. Between my birthday at the very beginning, the election, an aunt passing away, unexpected horse-sitting, and planning/executing my very first self-made Thanksgiving dinner, I unfortunately didn’t do a lot of writing. However, our Thanksgiving this year (TGV 2016) was Simply Delicious-themed, as I used 7 recipes for this year’s feast.

I started the cooking marathon on Tuesday 11/22 with 4-27: Mushroom-Parsnip Au Gratin–I thought parsnips would make an interesting variation on the “vegetable” dish for Thanksgiving. I also cooked this one first because I knew I could cook it most of the way, and save the final broiling for right before the dinner was served.

4-27 Mushroom-Parsnip Au Gratin
I don’t know much about parsnips being the “poor man’s lobster” (a quick Google search reveals butter baking cod/haddock/etc. to be the most common modern use for that term), but I’d describe them as a cross between potatoes and carrots. Too potato-y to be a carrot, but too carrot-y to be a potato.

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I skipped the suggestion in the Tips to add crab or shrimp, since I already had planned to serve 1-10: Seafood Cocktail Louisiana as one of my appetizers.

Other dishes I made on this night (Tue. 11/22): mashed potatoes, 3 types of hummus (roasted red pepper, roasted garlic, & Southwestern black bean & olive), & a mustard dipping sauce for 1-5: Pigs in a Blanket.

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Before I even started cooking any recipes, I had to strategically plan out which serving dishes were needed, and what they were going to be used for. Most dishes that were cooked in advance (such as the cranberries) were held in a different container and only transferred at the very last minute–this dish was cooked in its final serving dish since it was to be broiled.

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Ingredients. I went with a mushroom bouillon cube instead of regular vegetable–why not double down on mushroom flavor? For cheese, I went with a combination of grated Parmesan and a triple Cheddar blend, although their picture shows Swiss (which would have also probably been a good choice).

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Peeled my parsnips.

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The recipe suggests cutting them into chunks, but I always like an au gratin to be thin slices–regardless of vegetable.

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Food processor with a slicer blade makes quick work of the parsnips. A mandoline would work too, if you don’t have a food processor or slicer blade attachment.

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I did the mushrooms by hand, but those could go in the food processor or mandoline too, if you wanted.

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Melted butter to sauté the sliced mushrooms.

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Dissolving the mushroom bouillon cube.

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Blanched the sliced parsnips–when they’re this thin, expect them to take much less time than suggested in the recipe. I pulled these after less than 5 minutes. ⏱

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Multitasking is a big part of a successful Thanksgiving.

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Draining the cooked parsnips.

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The mushrooms essentially get turned into a cream-of-mushroom soup sauce–imagine that on top of blanched parsnips with a layer of broiled cheese on top and you’ve described this dish.

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Mushroom sauce on top–I moved the parsnips around a bit underneath to allow the sauce to soak down evenly into the vegetables. I don’t see why the mushrooms and parsnips couldn’t have been layered or even mixed–if I were to make it again, I’d incorporate them together more than was suggested.

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How the dish looked before I covered it in foil/plastic wrap and stored it in the fridge. When warming everything for Thursday’s dinner, I warmed this (uncovered) and then broiled it in the toaster oven for ~10 minutes. Unfortunately, as this was the dish holding up everything being served (as I broiled it), I wasn’t able to get a good final picture of it. It looked similar to above, just more bubbly and brown.

Despite its attractive appearance, it wasn’t a big hit–there was a good bit of it leftover, and no one really went back for seconds. I probably wouldn’t make this again, unless you had a crowd that REALLY liked mushrooms and/or parsnips.

Grade: C


Interested in the full list of Simply Delicious dishes I made for 2016’s Thanksgiving feast? 

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