Earlier I posted that October was the beginning of soup season. I'd like to add that it's also the beginning of casserole season. Cooler temperatures mean I will actually turn the oven back on! I love a good casserole. Casseroles make the house smell amazing, once baking in the oven they free up my hands for more cooking or other projects, their ample servings make great lunches for our entire work week, they are freezable and I love to share casseroles with my friends! I find I am quite at my happiest during the winter months with a casserole in the oven, a soup bubbling in the crockpot and I'm curled under a blanket with a cup of my favorite tea and a good book. Simple pleasures!
Today's gratin was inspired by the autumn flavors of root vegetables, winter squash, and kale. Rutabaga is one of my favorite autumn/winter root vegetables. It does not have the spiciness of a turnip and is actually quite creamy and delicious. I encourage you to try the weird-looking neglected rutabaga this season! An exploration of my favorite neighborhood specialty cheese counter yielded a cow's milk gruyere from Switzerland and a goat's milk gouda from Holland. I returned from a trip to my own garden with a handful of fresh thyme and chives.
This casserole takes quite a few steps to prepare, so I'd save it for your day-off rather than a busy work night. It yields many delicious servings, so is well worth the effort!
1 yukon gold potato, thinly sliced
1 yam, peeled & thinly sliced
1 rutabaga, peeled & thinly sliced
1 delicata squash, peeled, seeds removed & thinly sliced
2 cups shredded cheese, your choice (I used gruyere and gouda)
1 bunch lacinato kale, leaves de-ribbed, thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and minced
1 vegan broth cube
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup unsweetened plain soy milk
a handful fresh chives, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep your casserole dish by rubbing a tbsp or so of olive oil onto the bottom of the dish.
2. Sauté over medium heat the minced onion with a splash of olive oil. Cook a few minutes until translucent and lightly browned. Add the garlic and thyme and sauté a few minutes more until very fragrant. Set aside.
3. Begin layering with yam, rutabaga, 1 cup of cheese, potato, onion-garlic-herb mixture, kale, delicata squash.
4. Dissolve the broth cube into boiling water. Add the melted butter and soy milk. Whisk in the eggs until mixed. Pour this mixture over the casserole.
5. Top with remaining 1 cup of cheese and the chives.
6. Cover the casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.