root-vegetable-gratin Recipes

root vegetable gratin

Last year, I proudly announced my intentions to host a Friendsgiving dinner for our crew and we would do it up. About 15 minutes later, I remembered that I had an infant and a zillion other less cute things on my plate and came to my senses. This year, I am a woman unwaveringly of my word, and I have 9 days to get my act together.


what you'll need

Ina Garten (pause for reverence/praise-hands emoji) is here to save me, though, as she has a new cookbook out. Maybe you’ve heard about it? This one is about all the favorites she’s cooked for her husband over the years, which sounds of course terribly old-fashioned and yet, perhaps I’m just feeling a little extra sappy* this week, but it’s hard to find the gesture itself anything less than unambiguously lovely. “There’s nothing more comforting than walking into a house that smells like there’s a roast chicken and onions or a homemade apple pie in the oven,” Ina writes in the introduction, and talks about the way having people around the table creating “a community of friends that take care of each other,” which, for her, is the whole point of cooking. Needless to say, this ties neatly into holiday themes.

slicing the fennel
peeling the celery root
all prepped
onions and fennel
just a little cream
many crumbs

On Thanksgiving, however, I am of one singular stance: Team Casserole. I don’t just mean green beans (but, ahem, if you’re looking for un-goopy ones…), but basically anything that is baked in a large dish is often something that can be cooked long in advance, reheats and even holds heat well — essential when I have not even close to enough oven space to heat multiple dishes at once — is preferred over dishes that do not (last-minute sautés, roasting vegetables on sheet trays, etc.) Gratins are at the top of this list, and while there’s no rule that they all need to be swimming in cream and cheese, I think one rich one makes everyone happy. This gets my vote. It showcases a range of root vegetables but none that I don’t like (coughbeets) and tastes fantastic. It feeds a crowd and keeps really well. It smells amazing too, the kind of aroma that envelops you when you walk into the apartment and makes you feel, however briefly, like you are exactly where you were meant to be and maybe everything will be okay.

root vegetable gratin

* The U.S. election season began 19 excruciatingly long months ago and maybe you noticed, maybe you didn’t, but I don’t talk about politics here, or really most places because

a) nobody’s mind has ever been changed by a political post on social media,
b) you don’t need to a mad scientist to deduce what my leftie/pinko/femi-nazi/riotgrrl views are and
c) political discussions bring out the worst in people and I rather like you all.

The last is the big one. One of the possibly-weird things I think about all the time with this site is hospitality — and I don’t mean schooling others on it because I am so not that kind of domestic diva. Mostly, I mean trying to be as good of a host in this space as I can be. My hope is that this site could be a place where people who want to talk about cooking or are hungry to make something new or different or better or bored enough at work to listen to me prattle about some of my breakfast/dinner/cake theories might come to hang out.

Or maybe, if I could have such hubris to hope for this, it could be also a respite from the rest of the chaotic web because there are no “wild wests” here, I am inside that comment section every single day fielding all the questions and concerns I can. Perhaps because I do so from my living room, I don’t necessarily differentiate it from what I’d want to happen there too. Nobody’s going to tell you you have to buy fancy butter or xyz brand of anything to make a recipe work. Nobody’s going to judge you if you use storebought broth or take any and all shortcuts that work better for you. Why should this judgement-free zone end with cooking? You could argue political stakes, especially these, carry a bit more gravitas than butterfat percentages, and you’d be absolutely correct, but that brings me back to A. Nobody would leave here happier than they arrived or likely with what they came for and then there would be less breakfast/dinner/cake for all of us.

This is all to say that on a personal and family note, it’s been a sad, rough week. But one thing I can easily change how well I understand things next time. For me, the next step looks like this.

Previously

One year ago: Apple Cider Sangria
Two years ago: Sticky Toffee Pudding
Three years ago: Perfect Uncluttered Chicken Stock
Four years ago: Granola-Crusted Nuts
Five years ago: Baked Pumpkin and Sour Cream Puddings
Six years ago: Upside-Down Cranberry Cake
Seven years ago: Moroccan-Spiced Spaghetti Squash
Eight years ago: Pepita Brittle
Nine years ago: Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes with Sauteed Apples
Ten! years ago: Not Your Mama’s Coleslaw

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Crispy Tortellini with Peas and Proscuitto
1.5 Years Ago: Liege Waffles
2.5 Years Ago: Fresh Spinach Pasta
3.5 Years Ago: Japanese Vegetable Pancakes
4.5 Years Ago: Warm, Crisp and a Little Melty Salad Croutons

Root Vegetable Gratin


Once I realized how much this made, I divided it between two pans, one 3-quart baking dish and one 1-quart, freezing the larger one until I need it.

Garten's original recipe calls for 1/2 cup chicken broth and 2 1/2 cups heavy cream. I do not like gratins to be this rich and find much less cream goes a long way to impart richness, but not the kind that muffles flavors, so I used 2 cups broth and 1 cup cream. I also love mascarpone and/or creme fraiche in a gratin; you could use 1 cup of either here with an extra glug of milk or broth.

To make this ahead of time, you have many options but since a dish like this doesn't need to be baked a la minute to taste good, I’d go ahead and assemble and bake it as soon as you can. If just 1 to 3 days out, keep it in the fridge. 3 or more, freeze it. Make sure it spends a day in the fridge defrosting and then an hour on the counter shaking off its final chill before going in the oven (the last part mostly about protecting your stoneware, should it not be a friend to big temperature changes).


  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups (1/4-inch-sliced) fennel, top and core, if thick, removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 pound celery root, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 pound yukon gold, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 cup heavy cream (see Note up top)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or brother
  • 2 cups grated gruyere cheese (6 ounces with rind)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs or panko (what I used)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons melted butter

Heat your oven to 350°F. Butter a 13×9-inch deep baking dish.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large deep (ideally 12-inch) saute pan over medium heat and add the onions and fennel. Cooking, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more.

Meanwhile, in the largest bowl you own, combine the onion mixture with remaining vegetables, cream, stock, cheese, thyme, 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper. Pour mixture into prepared dish and spread until even. Mix breadcrumbs and butter until evenly coated and distribute evenly over top of dish.

Bake 1 1/2 hours uncovered, or until vegetables are very tender when tested with a small knife and the top is browned and bubbly. Allow to set for 15 minutes at room temperature and serve hot.


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326 comments on root vegetable gratin

  1. Erica

    I’m sadly not a fan of cream in anything, though this looks delicious. Could the cream here be swapped for more broth and some flour to thicken, similar to your Baked Spinach recipe? Or would that change things too much?

  2. My favourite thing this time of year is a truly amazing scorzonera vegetable gratin, nothing says comfort food more (except those mac & cheese you posted and I am trying to avoid since trying to stick to one slice of cake per day while nursing twins is hard enough) than things covered cream, cheese and something crunchy on top. Yum yum.

    Just in case you’d like to have a look: https://thejameskitchen.wordpress.com/2014/11/30/scorzonera-gratin/

  3. Jennifer Spero

    Hi Deb,
    This looks so good, but could I use something besides fennel? Do you have any suggestions? (I hate the taste of fennel.)

  4. Cheryl

    First, thanks for welcoming us into your living room – my ideas about hospitality align very closely with yours. That said, I hope that we can still be friends (judgment free zone!) after I confess that I don’t care for fennel – thoughts on whether there’s a good substitute, or if the dish would hold up if I just omit the fennel?

    1. deb

      See my comment above; I can pretty much assure you that this “room” is going to be crowded with the fennel-averse having the same question. (But you don’t even taste it here! Nobody will believe me, I know…)

        1. Tracey

          I don’t care for the taste of licorice in my food either. We have some lovely parsnips ready for pulling and will use those instead, along with our late carrots. Thank you for the recipe!

          1. Rebekah

            I giggled at “late carrots” because I imagined sad, forgotten, scraggly carrots in the crisper, the dearly departed, rather than just carrots grown late in the season. RIP carrots :P

        2. EL

          One can be averse to fennel after one finds that it can keep one up all night with its (how might I put this so that it can be read in polite company) trips to the bathroom due to its so called “de-toxifying, cleansing” action. In other words, I might like the taste, but I like sleep better! The other problem is that it is difficult to find a small bulb (unless you grow it yourself) so that you can use only a little.

    2. I do not like licorice in any form, yet I became converted to being a fennel lover when I was traveling to Italy this summer and it was in every salad I had I swear! I have done some sautéing and baking of it and it loses a lot of that flavor…. That being said, everyone’s tastes are different and I think I would maybe put in parsnips!

  5. This is brilliant. I think beets are OK but they don’t seem to belong here–they have a bossy way of making everything turn red or pink.
    Often gratin recipes involve boiling the vegetables (usually potatoes) for 10-15 minutes before spreading them in the baking dish. I am all for recipes that eliminate steps like that.

  6. Oh, great NYT link. No need to talk about politics! Watching quite a few discussion programmes yesterday makes me underline, highlight, mark in red with lots of exclamation marks c). Wholeheartedly agree. Let’s not. Lots of hugs from Germany.

  7. Meghan Seewald

    Hi Deb! I’d love to make this for Thanksgiving, in place of traditional sweet potato casserole, but we’re already having mashed potatoes. Do you think I could sub out the white potatoes for perhaps butternut squash, or does that provide the starchiness to thicken the sauce?

  8. Berne

    Thanks for referencing the election. I’ve been feeling like all the fashion and food blogs I follow are just ignoring the seismic shift that happened in our country, and I appreciate that people can both blog about more frivolous things and still feel all of this so deeply.

          1. dana

            same. deb as always you are my most favorite host. this site has not only provided my husband and i with lots of yummy dishes but you have provided us all with a lovely escape space. xoxox

            1. DanaNC

              Second that from another Dana. Deb, your always my favorite web visit, in happy times looking for new baking ideas for my 3 year old and I to share, and in sad, stressful times too. Thanks.
              BTW – your spinach quiche recipe is my favorite comfort food of all time.

    1. JC

      SPOT. ON. So well handled. I find myself disappointed in those who, while so much a part of our daily culture, are just not brave enough to acknowledge the heavy emotions upon our hearts this week. A smidgen of acknowledgement goes a long way.

      1. cR

        @JC

        SPOT. ON. SPOT. ON.

        Of course, staying silent, eerily neutral and above the fray, is the absolute right and prerogative of the folks we follow on the net.

        Silence might work for some, but not for me.

        Thanks for the Smitten Kitchen acknowledgment, Deb!

        Means the world to me. <3 <3 <3

      2. Meglet

        1. Not everyone has heavy emotions. Roughly half of voters are pleased with the election outcome. Since saying so is a surefire way to be excoriated online, if not outright threatened, one might as well stay quiet. Indeed, tens of millions of people are HAPPY about the results.

        2. Plenty of the people who didn’t vote for him are not completely devastated, distraught or terrified.

        3. I know it’s hard to believe in this midst of an election cycle, but a large share of the population is relatively apolitical. They don’t follow the news closely. They aren’t deeply invested in national politics. They may well show up and vote but the outcome of the election, regardless of what it is, is not a seismic cognitive shift. I’m not saying that is good or bad, but it is a reality.

        4. Some people just want to blog about food or clothes or knitting or woodworking or football or their kids and, shockingly, they don’t feel any need to pivot and address the election results which are irrelevant to this season’s trend for fringed underpants. Or they feel they don’t have anything of value to add to the discussion. Or they have no interest in dealing with the enraged internet hordes they fear might materialize regardless of their opinions.

        5. Some people are so distraught about the election they don’t want to blog, think or otherwise discuss it. They want to escape into a hobby or distraction.

        Must everything be political in the aftermath of the election? Is nobody allowed to run an apolitical space?

        1. Sunny

          If you can afford to remain neutral and unbothered by the outcome of this election then you are a living a privileged life indeed. ;)

        2. If you’re happy about or unbothered by the election results, that’s good for you. Why be offended that someone else is sad/disappointed/scared? If I’m not upset about something and someone else is, and they comment on their blog about being upset by it, I don’t usually think “I’m not upset about this how dare you be!!!!!” I think, “I’m sorry that you’re upset. I’m not, but it still sucks that you are.”

    2. Kris

      Agreed! When I finally needed a respite from news sites yesterday, your site is where I came for comfort. Thank you not only for your hospitality and soul-warming recipes, but also for your humor, insight, and wisdom.

    3. Alice

      This is why I love your website, Deb! I have been avoiding so much of the internet for the last couple of days, unwilling to witness people being so hateful and divisive in comments sections. I should have known that the SK crew would be so refreshingly positive and unified. Peace and cookies, everyone.

    4. BetsyB

      Yes, as I grieved this week I came here to look for comfort food posts and saw nothing until now. I figured it was a hard week on you too as sadness zaps our creativity. I’m back to being re-energized to provide comfort for family, friends, and strangers in ways small and large. Thank you for continued posts. We all do our part for community using our unique gifts. This is yours. Bless you.

    5. Stef

      I love you all and am so grateful to all of you. Yes, there is a mixture of people who are elated about the election results (we won’t into why that’s problematic in many regards), people who are completely apolitical and inactive (again, problematic for the functioning of a strong democracy, but I won’t go into that), and people who are indeed grieving and scared.

      I respect and understand the need to create a happy and apolitical space online with food! I’ve had to escape social media for a bit because I can’t handle the vitriol… on both sides.

      (But I love that you are a leftie/pinko/femi-nazi/riotgrrl, Deb! Insert hands up emoji!)

  9. Jackie

    I’ve been looking for another Thanksgiving side dish. Can’t wait to try it.
    I get such great ideas from your website and cook from your book often. Thanks for the hospitality.

  10. Brittany W.

    Hi Deb, so if I assemble and bake this ahead of time, put it into the refrigerator, take it out and let it sit on the counter for an hour, how long do I re-warm it and at what temperature? I never know how to do this without overcooking or drying a dish out. Is there a rule of thumb to follow?

    1. deb

      It’s rarely an exact science but I’d estimate 25 to 45 minutes 300/350, i.e. longer if lower and shorter if higher. If you’re worried about drying, cover it with foil for all but the last 10 minutes. We didn’t find drying to be an issue not reason to risk it, either.

  11. Hi Deb — I have read and loved this site for years, but have never commented before. Today, I just want you to know that for me, this site has been a respite. Yesterday, when I felt more devastated and angry than I thought I could bear, I came here to find something to occupy my time and my brain and my hands. I made baked ziti and it comforted me. It helped to strengthen me to keep fighting for what I believe in. Thank you for that, and for all that you.

    1. Saskia

      I second that, too. We made your baked sweet potatoes, in need/search of comfort food and a place that oozes warmth and hospitality (your site and the sweet potatoes brought just that, btw).

      1. Verni

        Made your applesauce cake last night to cheer us up. Thanks for your great recipes, and for maintaining a respectful oasis in the angry online world.

      2. Erin

        Same. I didn’t know what to do with all of my sadness and shock, so I started making lists of possibilities for Thanksgiving (with much reference to the SK archives of course), and then baked your crispy sweet potato roast. It felt like I could restore some peace and control via our kitchen, and of course the potatoes turned out delicious. It probably can’t be stated enough, so I’ll reiterate what so many others have said: thank you for this space and your unfailing hospitality. This site is an oasis I return to again and again.

    2. Jeanene

      Likewise. I made your pumpkin muffins for my coworkers. It was therapeutic for me at a time when I feel an overwhelming desire to spread kindness and foster connection.

    3. We made the baked ziti as well. We needed comfort food, but alas, my husband and I didn’t have much of an appetite. The kids, however, whaled on it. I had it for lunch here at work, and it’s even better today. Thanks for the respite here. :)

    4. Madeline

      Ditto. I defrosted some of your maple nutmeg butter cookie dough I had in the freezer, and baked into hearts for my colleagues at an LGBT community health center. They were much appreciated.

      1. Charlotte in Toronto

        Thank you for drawing my attention to these maple nutmeg cookies. I hadn’t noticed the recipe before. I spent time in Quebec City recently and came home with a ridiculous amount of maple syrup. I have a litre (a quart) of Amber grade (very dark, maybe equivalent to American Grade C) that makes fantastic butter tarts but I’d like to try it in these cookies. I just need to find some beautiful cookie cutters like Deb used. 🍁

  12. Pen Fox

    Deb, this post reminded me of a root vegetable shepherd’s pie I once had…. Just planting the seed of inspiration for more casserole-style vegetable dishes.

  13. jujyfruit

    This looks divine and right up my alley. You had me at fennel and celery root.

    So in other gratins I’ve made, I’ve left off any toppings save for maybe a sprinkle of extra cheese. I rather like the caramelization that happens on the top layer of veg. Are the breadcrumbs making a crust to seal moisture in or can I leave off? PS thanks for the safe welcoming place and all you do :)

  14. Caterina

    Hi Deb,

    This space is a peaceful respite from sometimes horrid days at work, filled with tasty ideas and a good laugh. We love that you don’t judge. That being said, as much as I love Ina, my poor body can’t possibly handle all of that cream and butter :) Your swap of some of the cream for more stock is right up my alley.

    P.S. – Made your pumpkin bread and it is perfection.

  15. rachelmaskin

    Thank you, Deb. This site has been an oasis during this dark and chaotic period. I only made it through election night by keeping my hands busy with your tomato broth & brownie recipes). Your work is so significant — you make the world a better place. That said, I have mixed feelings on fennel.

  16. Kersten from New Jersey

    Thank you, Deb, both for the recipe and the words of wisdom. I definitely share your love of hospitality – and I believe it’s over the dinner table that we often have the most important conversations. Thanks, and this looks delicious and funnily enough, I have all the ingredients.

  17. Mandy Sutter

    The recipe says “2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or brother”. My brother won’t be able to come for Thanksgiving. Can I use broth instead?

    (Thanks for the type that allowed me to make a joke — my first joke in days! ;-) )

      1. A

        These comments made me laugh out loud! Much needed levity. Agree with all above and so worried about the future for my kids- where insularity and severing connections is becoming the norm its so great to hear of the bonds that people are determined to foster even in small ways. From an Australian who watched your election in horror but reads your blog for respite, thanks Deb and all of you!

  18. Maro

    this is literally the only media i’ve been able to consume since tuesday night. thank you for being who you are and doing what you do the way that you do it.

  19. Lucy LeBlanc

    Thank you for your remarks about the last week’s activities. We here north of the border are very concerned with what has been happening to our friends and family. Tonite we are having the 44 clove garlic soup to ward off any (evils).

  20. Charlotte in Toronto

    This looks lovely. I’ve never cooked celery root or fennel but every time I see a recipe featuring one or the other or both I think “I’m gonna make that” but I never do. I promise I’ll make this. It looks simple and fuss free.
    As a side note, your blog is always a source of comfort and happy distraction for me. I love food and I love to read about it, cook it, eat it and grocery shop for it. I get lost in another universe when I’m in the kitchen. I appreciate that you’re so real and unpretentious. I’ve come here during some very difficult times looking for reprieve. Thank you so much for everything that you give me :)

    1. C

      Pasta e Verdura by Jack Bishop has a fabulous braised fennel linguine sauce (with onion, raisins and cinnamon) — sounds weird but is delicious. Also, summer tomatoes with thinly sliced raw fennel, lemon zest, prosciutto, a lemon/olive oil dressing, and pine nuts — one of my favorite tomato recipes, and a nice change of pace from more usual companions like basil & mozz.

      1. Charlotte in Toronto

        Raisin and cinnamon sounds like a good flavor with fennel. I’ll look up this recipe. It doesn’t sound bizarre at all.

  21. Lane

    As a former resident of the city of Olympia, Washington, home to riot girrl, you mentioning it in a post made me smile for the first time this week.

  22. jeninthesun

    Thank you thank you thank you for both a beautiful gratin as well as your beautiful footnote. As someone who loves to cook, whether for family, for myself, or for therapy, I’ve been contemplating the healing power of food the past few days. Healing in a sense of bringing together community over a shared bite. It seems to be one gesture of love (am I allowed to say that?!) that I can offer to the universe right now.

  23. Michelle

    Thank you for the link, I’ve been wondering if I can ever possibly understand why people feel this is the best path – hopefully some more reading will help. As a UK resident, I’m in the midst of the Brexit madness too and have found solace in your writing and recipes. Thank you for being a lovely host.

  24. Taylor

    Thank you! It has been a difficult week here too so I just wanted to say thank you for this blog. Thank you for a calm, welcoming space where I can read your blog posts and stress cook/bake my way through difficult times (like grad school and this election season). Last but definitely not least, thank you for the link to the list of books to understand better next time. I will definitely have to make this gratin soon, it looks amazing.

  25. Jo AZ

    For those that don’t like cream maybe 1/2 &1/2 might work? I don’t suggest using it hear but when I make chicken pot pie or piccata I add a little fat free 1/2&1/2. I buy a good quality fat free brand and it does the trick.
    Deb I ordered Inas new book from her directly and bought the signed copy. Not sure how many more she’ll do so I plan on doing this. It shipped quickly and I love it. She is the best. Thank you for the comments reagarding this week, you are a wise sensitive woman. I am grateful for you.

  26. C

    Amen to a respite. The comfort of cooking is a constant, whatever the political winds.

    I also have heard tell there is a thing called “nature” that can provide nourishment.

  27. Mona

    i came here last night and baked your salted chocolate chunk cookies. creaming the butter and sugar together was kind of zen, and they were delicious and my house smelled wonderful, and for 30 minutes i forgot about everything shitty that happened. thanks.

    1. Jules

      I always thought I didn’t like beets. Turns out I don’t like *cooked* beets…shredded raw in a glory bowl or matchsticked in salad or chunkier with dip, I’m actually reasonably fond of them. Not ‘suddenly-my-favourite-vegetable-ever’ fond, but enough to get me through the few that intermittently pop up in my CSA.

  28. Carolyn

    Thanks for providing a hospitable space as you give us tools to be hospitable in our own homes! And I’m sure I’m not the only one to say this, but I’ll cast my vote for Hillbilly Elegy – I grew up in a town not far from the author’s, and I think it’s a really thoughtful and insightful look into what a lot of middle America is experiencing and responding to.

  29. Hannah

    Such a pleasant post, and exactly what I needed to hear today :-) While I often cook & enjoy your recipes, I read this site mostly because of the lovely sense of hospitality you provide. I also (apparently) really dig your views on politics, especially the social media aspect. My good friend’s 83 year old mother has fully alienated herself from close family members due to back and forth facebook posts this election season. I find that deeply disturbing.

  30. TanjaK

    Hello Deb, this is a wonderful recipe. We’ve got most of these in our garden. Including fennel. We love fennel in our family.
    Also, I’ve been following you from here from the beginning and have been so thankful for many, many wonderful recipes and tips. And by here I mean Slovenia, and so… let me just say, I am so, so sorry and I sincerely apologize! This I think is the first time I am truly embarrassed about a compatriot of mine. Many of us are. Ugh! That’s all. Let me try this great sounding casserole next.

  31. Emeline Gardner

    Thanks, Deb. Well written post and a delicious looking dish. What a pal you are. And thanks for the NY Times link–that’s really helpful.

  32. Megan

    Long time reader, first time writer: thank you for your insightful thoughts and providing a hospitable place in this dark and stormy night. Your statement on “riotgrrl etc.” definitely put a smile on my face for the first time since Tuesday. Yesterday I baked your chocolate peanut butter cake (in cupcake form) for my husband and co-workers. It is a small and delicious step to help myself and others to heal and fight for our courses. In times of stress I have always come back to your recipes for inspiration. More importantly, your engaging and humorous writing always make my day. Once again, thank you for everything you have done.

    1. Megan

      Another Megan here who is a long-time reader, first time commenter, signing in to say thanks for the many years of wonderful recipes that I can now turn to to comfort my family after this terrible week and the thoughts of the weeks and years to come. It was brave and kind for you to write this- thanks, Deb.

  33. Jan

    Thank you for your post and link to the NYT book review list. I read your postings faithfully because I like your recipes and I think you are funny. I also appreciate the always positive tone of your postings, and it felt important to say, “Thank you.”

  34. P

    Hi Deb,
    From one leftie to another, I so appreciate your tone and thoughtfulness today and always on the site. I’ve been browsing the site today, trying to decide what to make for a potluck I’m hosting on Sunday. Ina’s idea of a “community of friends that take care of each other” is so important and is where I’m focusing my energy, at least for a little while.

  35. This is such a comforting post in every way, and I’ve so enjoyed your instagram feed as well this week, full of salubrious offerings in a time we could use them most. Couldn’t agree more on Ina’s intro, the meaning of cooking/gathering, and the desire for not talking politics here. Because food can serve as a language of unity, and this, especially now, is worth keeping sacred.

  36. This looks like a really good and comforting recipe Deb. For an Irish woman, what is/are Yukon Gold?
    Considerations on your election result. Many of us were devastated by the Brexit vote here but this feels worse. Bake cake, admire Autumn leaves and hug babies. It doesn’t change the world but it may just keep you sane. Oh, and read food blogs. xxx

      1. Betty

        I feel daft not to know that, given the Irish love of the potato, but we simply don’t have that variety in England, where I live.
        So thank you very much for the information.

        1. deb

          Sorry for the late response. They’re sold under different names in different places, but any gold or yellow potato works about the same. They’re slightly waxier than a baking potato. In Europe, I think they’re much more the standard potato (while in the U.S., the starchier Russet/Idaho is). But at least for me, they’re available everywhere potatoes are. If you can’t find yukon gold, you might use a red potato instead. It’s more starchy, less waxy, but still less likely to fall apart than a Russet/Idaho.

  37. Kate

    Thanks for the no-politics; I am looking for safe zones and have deleted Twitter so the I won’t accidentally go there. Making your three-bean chili tomorrow.

  38. Hi Deb, you are at the top of my 3 favorite go-to recipe gurus. I tell all my friends to check out your blog because a) you have darn good recipes and b) you are a great writer and are so hilarious! My collection of printed recipes are filled with Smitten Kitchen! (wish I had the time to make your challah every shabbat!) I was so leery to scroll down and read your post, hoping I wasn’t going to feel alienated and compelled to jump ship….which would have brought me great sadness because I LOVE coming to your site for reasons a and b and to leave feeling good and inspired. Statistically speaking, it’s feasible that 1/2 of your followers lean in a different direction and are feeling more hopeful than angry and depressed. Thank you for keeping the focus on food, fun and family! We may have different views and perspectives, but I think we can all agree that salted, chocolate chunk cookies are good for all of our souls ; )

    1. Cindy

      I agree. Love coming to this site for many reasons, politics is not one of them. I have many people in my life with differing views. Love them the same.

  39. Mary

    Thank you thank you thank you for posting that link to the list of books – I’m trying to understand and maybe this will help. Your whole post on the topic was absolutely right and perfect. I absolutely adore your site and always want to make everything I see – this most recent one included!!

  40. Anne

    Thank you for always being so welcoming here. I came here precisely for some comfort on this sad, sad week. You’re a great hostess in this space!

  41. Mandy W.

    I’m a long-time lurker – seldom commenter, but the ending to your post was very well written, and I wanted you to know. I don’t understand why we can’t all be nice, even if we don’t agree on something, and I love the refuge I find on your blog and its distinct lack of politics. Plus, I’m excited to try the gratin. When is the next bouncing baby of a cookbook due out??? You keep alluding to writing it. I’m giving your first one to my sister for Christmas.

    1. deb

      Thank you — I know I’m being such a terrible tease. I didn’t want to bring the next book up yet because the release date is so far off, you’ll be tired of it before it even arrives if I talk about it too much. But it’s next fall and I so hope it is worth the wait. Early in the new year, I’ll have a lot more to share about it. Thank you for asking.

  42. Livy

    Thank you so so much for this post. It is perfect. I have been reading your blog for years but have never commented until now. Your recipes are wonderful and I feel welcome here now more than ever. Love to all of us.

  43. Liz

    Your site IS a respite from what is going on in our world. I starting entering your URL thinking, “Please, please let there be a new recipe to distract me, even momentarily, from the fear and despair and hate…” and you came through. I can breathe easy and think about food–the best thing ever–and spreading joy and kindness in an accessible way. So, thank you.

  44. Michaela

    When you say bake it 1-3 days ahead of time do you bake it with the breadcrumbs and butter on top then or leave that until you reheat it the day of? This is probably a silly question but if you bake all components 3 days early do the breadcrumbs get soggy sitting on top when it freezes, comes back to room temp, or gets reheated?

  45. Sabrina

    I went out and bought the ingredients the second I saw this recipe. It’s baking right now and I can hardly wait. As a Canadian with a heavy heart for America, I know this dish will lift my spirits up ❤️

  46. Deborah Brouwer

    I’ve loved your blog for more than 5 years, even though I am from the Midwest and I am somewhat older than you (my children are 24 and 28). But your post today did help move my spirits a touch upwards. (I also am making your pear chocolate cake right now. That helps too.) Thank you.

  47. Valerie

    Love fennel (but it seldom appears in recipes!) and love this and all your posts; also been looking for some time to swap out my Thanksgiving basic roasted veggies with something else, and this looks like IT!

  48. Jenna

    Loved your post script & completely agree with everything you’ve said. That is, until I saw you don’t like beets, now I’ll never visit this site again. Haha KIDDING. I’m in Australia so have bookmarked this recipe for winter (we miss out on all the comforting holiday winter foods but bonus, have cherries and fresh berries on Christmas day). LOVE the photo of Anna in the cat overalls and bunny hats, she’s so adorable!

  49. Nina Armstrong

    Is it bad to blanch the vegetables a bit first? I’ve never had good luck with gratins- the vegetables never seem to cook through.

    1. I made this gratin last weekend and my vegetables were still mostly raw, even after 90 minutes in the oven. I would definitely blanch them if I was going to make this again. I served it at a Friendsgiving, and thankfully everyone just laughed it off and ate more stuffing.

  50. Jenny

    Would you please be so kind as to tell us about the lovely linens which have appeared so subtly and elegantly in the last several recipes’ images? Thank you!

  51. Esther D’Agrosa

    Thank you Deb! I just read the beginning of Ina Garten’s cookbook tonight, and found her words about entertaining inspiring. Your recipes are so wonderful. I always tell my friends that I am not sure what I like most about your blog: your recipes, your writing, or your photos – all are superb. Thanks also for the venture into the political landscape – I (as many of your other readers have noted) find your site a respite. Cooking is a respite.
    Any chance you have any more ideas for delicata squash? I grew them in my garden this summer and they are prolific!
    Thank you!

    1. deb

      I love them! I feel like they’re so amazing roasted as rings because you don’t have to peel them. I’m thinking about treating them like this for Friendsgiving. I also enlist them in this Fall-Toush Salad. I think you can use them anywhere another squash is called for (here’s my list); I don’t call for them more often because they’re not as easy to find as butternut, acorn or spaghetti varieties.

  52. Thank you. I’ve had a sad, hard week, too. A gratin makes me feel better. Hey, what do you think the top five anti-sad recipes would be? What just tastes like uncomplicated joy? My house could use that.

      1. Oh my god, I miss clams! I’m originally from NJ but now I live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and they are harder to come by. I’ll be cooking through this list for sure!

    1. Rebekah

      You didn’t ask ME, but I’m commenting anyway. 5 anti-sad recipes that come to mind are: carnitas, any cheesy pasta dish, cinnamon rolls, citrusy pound cake, and spaghetti (squash) bolognese. (but I’m going to try the Browniest Cookie this weekend)

  53. Debbie

    Nice post, this recipe looks delicious and I’ll be trying it when winter rolls round again (summertime here in Australia and no-one sensible is making gratins). There’s too much hate in politics now, most certainly encouraged by politicians themselves, it’s possible to have different values and beliefs yet still have respect for each other. Peace.

  54. Cy

    Thanks Deb, a lovely comfort dish is what we all needed after a sad, stressful week. I’m not a lone drinker, but do feel better after drinking down a dark and stormy tonight! 😊I made an exception. I’m starting to the silver lining and will be making this dish soon.

  55. Jessica

    When I read the sentence “it could be also a respite from the rest of the chaotic web” I started to cry. Because I need that respite. Thank you. Also, thank you for not leaving it unsaid, because it doesn’t really count as a respite unless there’s understanding that we all need to be treated gently. Forced cheerfulness/distraction makes me feel like I’m in an alternate universe where we’re pretending nothing happens in the world.

  56. JSK

    Thank you, Deb, for having the courage to both lay out your own views plainly, and to dictate what you need your own space to look like. I’ve seen so many simply not acknowledge this shift, and I applaud your willingness to do so with the sort of grace that we have come to expect from you.

    And thank you for years of providing us with beautiful recipes and a respite in food. I think you’ll be hearing a lot of these comments, but I think it’s important to say it anyway. As a disabled woman who’s often constrained to the house, the kitchen has become a place of solace for me and many others like me, and whenever I’m feeling low, I come here and make something from your website, because I know it’s going to turn out well and lift my spirits. Wishing the best for you.

  57. Mary Linda Smith

    I really enjoy your posts and recipes. We’ve made the avocado/cuke recipe many times over! But your post today will probably alienate quite a few of your readers, including the book list, which comes across as condescending and elitist. You certainly have a right to post your views and feelings, Deb. But coupling those views with the subject of hospitality just voided the hospitality part for many of us.

    1. deb

      I’m so sorry to hear this when my intention was the opposite. I wanted to express that I know this has been a rough week for half the country but that these divisions don’t apply here, where everyone is welcome, and that I hope people will continue to find this place to be an escape. I didn’t want anyone to mistake my 10 years (and next 10 years; this conversation will only happen once) of silence on politics for apathy; I want to acknowledge what’s happening in our world while still hopefully providing a respite from it.

      About the book list, I can see how it could appear the wrong way. For me, it’s very personal. I’d always prided myself on being informed; I read newspapers every day and everything I can get my hands on. On election night, I realized — and fwiw, my conservative friends were equally shocked by the results — how grossly misinformed I’d been. I live in a zone where you can count the number of people who voted for our president-elect on your fingers and toes — it’s easy for it to become a bubble, but there’s no excuse to let it. It’s time for me to expand my reading list.

      1. Nicole

        Yes, it’s easy for division and lack of understanding to occur in politics as in other areas of life when people are constantly surrounded by those of like mind. When you’re in an echo chamber it is hard to hear, let alone understand those who are outside of it.

      2. Vicki

        Oh, no, don’t kid yourself. It’s been a rough week for EVERYBODY. I have been blown over by the angry, frustrated backlash and the hatred. And so worried by the calls for violence and revolution. (Really? You want us to pick up guns and shoot at each other?) Everybody needs a hug and cookie. Or cheese. It’s been a horrible week.

      3. Liz

        Hi Deb, I just wanted to put in a quick word. Though I think it is great to read books to better understand the other side, at the same time it is disheartening that it is even necessary. My first reaction to it is to want to say, “But we are right here! It takes a book to understand me?! Couldn’t you talk to a real live conservative instead of read about them like they are an exotic animal?” But of course you can’t, because in NYC they are. So, I am all for reading books if it is helpful.
        Do branch out from the Times list though; keep in mind that they are the sort of institution that helped create/maintain such a disconnect!

        1. deb

          Fair enough! If I found out someone was reading books to better understand me — please start with the Ramona Quimby books, btw — I would say “what do you think I am? A specimen in a zoo?” Etc. But as I mention above, this isn’t a replacement for human interaction and I promise, I don’t just speak to people who see the world the way I do (it would make life very boring), it’s about reading about political, economic, regional and social shifts I’ve missed.

    2. Karen

      Applying what is clearly meant as an insult (“elitist”) to someone’s effort to bridge a gap certainly voids the hospitality part too. I read a lot (50+ books a year, half of it non-fiction) and I welcome any reference to help me understand the other half of this country. I’ve even read a couple of the books on the list and found them thought provoking. Insulting people who turn to books to understand the world is just the other side of the coin from assuming people who have lesser educations and/or don’t read books can’t understand the world either.

    3. Dallas

      One of those books, Hillbilly Elegy, is a really wonderful book written by a conservative leaning author who grew up Working class in Appalachia and the rust belt. I found that it really helped me understand more about people on the other side of the political spectrum, and I just don’t see what could be elitist about that. Also, this is a personal blog, and not a corporate product, so I don’t expect it to be scrubbed free of the author’s beliefs. That being said, I appreciate Deb’s commitment to making this a respite.

    4. Tamara

      Deb’s political comments were brief and respectful. Someone feeling alienated by simply knowing that her views are not exactly the same as theirs would be a sad revelation of the pervasiveness of “us vs them” perspective in politics right now.

    5. Valerie Hoiness

      Also, for what it’s worth, the author of ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ proudly owns the name. He describes it as a set of values along with a geographic origin. If you took it as a perjorative, you may be surprised upon reading the book.

  58. I have a guest coming who is gluten-free. What suggestions might you have to replace the bread crumbs?

    Also, in our CSA box, I have come to enjoy the golden beets. Not nearly as messy, and the taste is pleasing to us.

    Thanks for all you do for us.

  59. leighbelleking

    Oh America. From that spot south of 0° and east of the Greenwich line, I think you will need a lot of sweet treats on 24th November to counter the bitter pill you have to swallow this particular thanksgiving. Wishing you all well, and my family loves Deb and her recipes. May try the gratin at Christmas time!

  60. Dahlink

    You handled that beautifully, Deb. I am pro-beets and anti-fennel, which is why my favorite way to handle the veggie side dish question is to roast a variety of vegetables with lots of garlic and fresh herbs, and let people serve themselves so they can easily avoid the ones they don’t care for. For me it works best to roast each vegetable individually, then combine on a big platter when they are all done. If we are not having mashed potatoes a la Julia, then I will include tiny potatoes or fingerlings along with the other veggies. This can be served at room temperature if oven space is at a premium.

  61. Garlic + Zest

    I am definitely on team casserole — anything you can do in advance makes sense on Thanksgiving, turkey aside. I absolutely love that golden crumb you’ve got going on in this dish — buttery, crispy bliss *sigh*. Regarding the election, they don’t make enough wine to numb the pain.

  62. Judy

    this post brought me to tears, as the despair I have been feeling has yet to lift. Your observations are always on point and often speak directly to me (my kids are long grown, but the memories are there!). While I keep the recipes and enjoy them enormously, this entry went far beyond the usual. thank you so much for helping guide a road to what will be a difficult path into our future. all the best to you and yours

  63. I knew I adored you for so many reasons but your humor and hospitality is at the top of the list. Thank you for making this a haven for all of us who love family, friends, and excellent food. You’re left, I’m right, but who cares because here we’re in the middle and we’ve found common ground. I love your recipes and I’m always smiling as I read your posts. Have a wonderful weekend!

  64. Deb, Thanks so much for your comments and your hospitality. I live in downtown New York and have been feeling a bit shell shocked. Making the root gratin will restore a sense of everyday tranquilty.

  65. Mary Jo Zimmer

    I appreciate your wonderful blog and especially your response to events this past week. Hopefully we can learn to listen to and understand each other and sitting at the table with wonderful food and hospitality is a great start.

  66. agedtechie

    Where I live it is almost impossible to get celery root. Has anyone tried this with just celery or some other alternative? Since celery is stronger flavor and more watery, I am trying to get a handle on the proportions would work.

    1. Ginnifer

      I would not sub celery for celery root. The best part about this gratin is that the contents are of similar density and structure, so they bake similarly. Above, in the comments asking for a substitute for fennel, other root vegetables were suggested, like rutabaga, parsnips, or carrots. Celery root is not as sweet as those, though, so you might want to try golden beets, or additional potatoes.

  67. GRACE…that is what comes to mind in trying to summarize your quality that is most obvious in how you expressed your thoughts in this post. How you managed to honestly reveal your own views and heartbreak..rather than trying to sugarcoat or trivialize, but without being didactic or judgemental …well, it is nothing short of impressive. Thank you for the comfort of this post and this gratin, Deb. And thank you for your warm hospitality. The book I plan to re-read was written long ago but I can’t stop thinking about it now: Philip Roth’s “Plot Against America”. It seemed like fairly preposterous fiction at that the time (an imagination of what would have happened if Charles Lindburgh had been elected President of the United States as Adolph Hitler rose to power), it seems so very relevant now. But on a much lighter note, where did you get that lovely gratin dish? I had a similar one by Le Gourmet Chef that broke–and they are no longer in business. All I can find that is similar is Le Crueset but, especially in the larger size, that is SO expensive! Namaste and Peace to all of you

      1. Thanks for the link. Your au gratin dish is beautiful. The 3 quart version is the one I am coveting, which yours appears to be. I wish it was the same price as the smaller one (24oz) you linked to. Agreed, I too found other work by Roth repelling. But I found Plot against America far more compelling albeit chilling than I find it repelling, especially in retrospect of what is happening now. I found it to be extremely different from his other more self absorbed books. Thank you so much for this site, Deb. It is my happy place.

        1. deb

          I actually am showing the white in 1 quart. I made a large one (not a Le Creuset dish) and froze it for later. You can see it in the 2nd to last photo.

          I just threw my petty anti-Roth tantrum after dragging myself through the seemingly-endless So I Married A Communist and then learned it was just a thinly-veiled vendetta against his ex-wife. However, I had really enjoyed American Pastoral and hope the movie isn’t too terrible? (I’ll keep hoping, from what I read.) Re, Plot Against America, thanks. I have heard that it’s quite different. I’ll report back when I’m done. :)

  68. Rachel Turiel

    This recipe looks awesome. I have a root cellar that this recipe will justify! I look forward to making it. And I appreciate your thoughts on this election, politics and your internet space.

  69. rosedziedzic

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I grew up in Missouri, but have lived on the East Coast for the past 10 years, and I feel much more at home here. However, I love all of your recipes and posts, and I never have to second-guess or reread a post before I send it to my Mom with the question, “Can we please make this the next time I come home?” My mom and I may disagree on a lot of things, but we always agree that a Smitten recipe needs to happen on every visit :)

  70. Suzanne

    Deb, thanks for your well-written, thoughtful comments about hospitality and the election. You’re a bight, warm spot in a hurting world. I’m inspired. XO

  71. Heather

    I avoided the internet, radio, and as much human contact as I could on Wednesday and Thursday. Thank you for SK. For all the comfort and love. And for sharing your next step.

  72. Sandy Lentz

    Thanks so much, Deb. Taking care of each other, feeding, hugging, listening, contributing, these will get us through. Add to your reading list David Brooks’ column in this morning’s Times.
    I’ve become a huge gratin fan of late. Great way to deal with two 7:30 meetings in opposite directions a couple of times a week. (We’ve flunked retirement: Scouting leadership, park board, choral group treasurer, church meal ministry coordinator) trying to bloom (and cook) where we’re planted.

  73. Sarah

    I have a lactose allergy and can not have heavy cream. Do you think using almond milk or even skim milk (which I can take a lactose pills for) could be done?

  74. Diane

    yum! I just added this to my Thanksgiving menu. Thanks!
    prairierthfarm.com The beet walnut dip is one of the best things to ever cross my lips and its really fun to look at. Its all natural magenta!!! Even if you don’t like it(and I think you will)your friends will thank you for it. Mine do…A LOT!
    I prefer it prepared with sherry vinegar, but lemon juice works too.
    Enjoy!

  75. Gavin

    Thank you for this Deb, can’t wait to try! I am always inspired by your blog as a young home cook also living in NYC. I have cooked my way through about 1/4 of your site and looking forward to sharing a little love, food and hope during this trying holiday season. xo

  76. sparkgrrl658

    literally two days ago went through my bookmarks, certain i had saved a “root vegetable gratin.” and i did find it, but it was on one of those websites where it supposedly has X number of reviews totaling 4.5 out of 5 stars but you can’t read the reviews, and what good is that? what if the last 35 people that made it hated it?

    anyway, i set it aside…and now, in typical excellent timing deb fashion, here this is. and from ina no less, who i happened to be watching when i read this post. for once this week, a win.

    (also? i appreciate this place being politics-free for the simple reason that sometimes some of us just need a break, and it’s nice knowing there will still be at least one safe space left to get one. i totally respect others who are speaking out – after all, there are real people behind these blogs and instagrams that we love – but the entirety of it becomes a bit crushing in a situation like this and i end up having to avoid everyone and everything entirely. cuz really, weeping softly at the laundromat isn’t a good look for me.)

  77. Thank you. Everyday ….for every thoughtful post, for every adventurous recipe, for every time I came a-visiting sat in your virtual living room and left a little more inspired a little more connected a little more attuned to a healthier pace of living. <3

  78. Deb Allmeyer

    That’s it!! You nailed it when you said hospitality! That’s the welcoming feeling I get ( and suspect I’m not alone) when I read your posts!
    Seeing Smitten Kitchen in my in box is such a joy for me. Do I feel you are talking specifically to me? Yes, but cannot wait to read what others are saying in response to your posts. You bring boundless joy along with cooking chops!

  79. Donna

    Thank you Deb for never failing to inspire me with your recipes and your writing. I look forward to your posts every week. Regarding our election, seems I am in the minority of your commenters who am decidedly not sad at its outcome. May I humbly suggest that instead of reading second hand accounts in books, that if one is genuinely interested in understanding, then why not simply talk to those who voted for him. You might find that we’re no so deplorable.

    1. deb

      I am certain I haven’t said a single derisive word, deplorable or other, about people who voted differently from me. To introduce this kind of divisiveness into this conversation is precisely what I alluded to above in C. There’s no reason for it here. Everyone is welcome.

      But I’d be happy to grab coffee.

      1. Karen

        Maybe if you read any of those books (and I have) you wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss them or (according to an earlier post) dismiss people who turn to books as elitist. While there are some hard truths in them, the also give people like me (living in a very blue area) some great perspective about how other people who made different choices arrived at their viewpoints. My attempts at simply talking to the few people I know who admit they feel differently have left me less than sympathetic.

      2. Liz

        I think Donna was trying to be cute with the deplorable remark – as we know, it was Hillary Clinton that said that regarding Trump supporters. I think any attempt to genuinely understand the other side is appreciated. It would be my recommendation to talk to someone who voted for him, too, but obviously it is not that simple when there are none around you.

        1. deb

          Donna, if you were saying “deplorable” jokingly, I’m so sorry I jumped and assumed the opposite. See how terrible this stuff is for polite conversation? We’re all so on edge.

          As for speaking to the other side, of course I do — friends and family both — and I’m happy to with anyone here, but perhaps offline or over email. ;) But I find the bigger picture of political, economic, regional and social shifts very interesting to read about from the distance of social science as well.

      3. Jae

        I don’t think Deb meant to be “elitist” or negative by suggesting a list of books to read to understand the conservative vote. I know my personal experiences of attempting to talk to my friends and family who differ in opinion from me have lead to confusion and hurt feelings. Sometimes reading a secondhand account can bring the distance and objectivity needed to fully appreciate another opinion.

        Not only that, but books are a great way to cope with stress and sadness. Even heavy, nonfiction ones. With winter almost upon us (Right winter? Where’s the cold?) I appreciate a good book list to delve into. Thank you, Deb, for sustenance for our minds as well as our bellies!

    2. mc mc

      I hope in reflection you will see you are out of line with connecting the dots to an unfortunate comment. We all need to reach out to each other and be forgiven as we attempt new footing.

  80. nfranklin2015

    Deb, how did you know I’ve been wanting to experiment with celery root?

    Probably the same way you knew just what to say, gently, to acknowledge how emotional this week has been.

    Bless you for your gracious hospitality.

  81. Megan

    Love your blog. I have tried some recipes but haven’t got around to trying all I would like to try. I am happy to hear you speak of the election. I am sorry you have been criticised in the comments. Seriously people in a democratic society if America is one, everyone should be able to express politely their feelings, you don’t have to agree with them just accept their views differ and move on. It will be a great loss to leave this blog and miss out on all the great recipes and the stories of the children, which I enjoy, I have been shocked by the US election and the vitriol. Why take such an important democratic duty and vote with spite. Deb is entitled to her opinion and may people share it. If a person with a different opinion is too confronting then perhaps you shouldn’t visit this blog or a good many others. Thanks for the great recipes and diversions. Well done.

    1. Thank you thank you thank you for writing this. A week ago I would have been shocked that anyone would criticize anything Deb would write — so subtly did she speak, so human were her remarks — but in this last week I’ve learned not to be shocked by anything any longer. I love this blog as you do.

  82. Asu

    Hello, I will try baking ahead of time and rewarm it when ready to serve. At What temperature do you suggest to rewarm it in the oven? Would it be kind of dry that way? Thanks so much.

  83. I love George Packer. I love you, your cooking, your writing, your genuine joy and generosity and constant-never-ending-hospitality. Thanks for posting something humble and beautiful and heartening on a week such as this. I may slide out from under my warm sad rock and make this over the weekend. Buying your cookbook for another friend this week. Thank you, Deb.

  84. My views are right in line with yours, but I would never want to see people talking on here the way they do on Facebook. I’m extremely happy that this is an oasis from politics. Thank you thank you. And the gratin is on my list.

  85. Debby N.

    Deb, what a lovely gracious, yet meaningful take on the past week’s developments. As usual, my Thanksgiving (I hate when people call it Turkey Day) table will be laden with Smitten Kitchen dishes. I am thankful for your contribution to civility, and the delightful pics of the children. I still feel like their grandma. Wishing you and yours a delicious and relaxing holiday.

  86. Katy McCoy

    Thanks so much for the reference to the NYT article – I bought them all. There should be some solace in trying to understand why half the country would vote for such a dispiriting and awful person.

  87. Janet

    Do you have any advice for making this in a crock pot? Have a work Thanksgiving pot-luck coming up and was thinking about making something like this, but in a crock pot, so that it can be easily heated without a microwave or oven.

  88. Sherri

    Thank you so much Deb! I’ve taken a break from all media this year-long week, and I thought, let’s see if Deb has anything new. Reading all of the comments has made me cry, we are all in this together, and finding comfort through food and talking and sharing is what is getting me through right now. I wish I had the DeLorean, Doc, and Marty to fix where the timeline skewed so I could go fix this alternate reality we find ourselves in. For now, I have to have hope, and I found it here. Thank you.

  89. CC

    Deb! This gratin looks lovely, I will be trying it. For now, I started reading Hillbilly Elegy yesterday and at the moment I’m relaxing on my couch in Miami, drinking a big glass of beautiful Malbec (a tribute to my Argentine immigrant mother who is simply devastated) and about to have a lovely moment with my hubby and then a big bowl of home made Minestrone soup. Wine, love and soup I’ll take my comforts where I can this dark, dark week. Wishing everyone peace and hope.

  90. Karen

    I always enjoyed reading about recipes and food on your site. It never occurred to me to comment on any of my political views on this site until I read today that people were eating comfort food to try to get through this sad week. Just so you know, I have had to eat comfort food for the past eight years. Yes it has been very hard to endure. And to comment on a recent post, we did not vote for an awful person. We voted for a long overdue leader. I wonder f he knows how to cook.

    1. CC

      Deb, while you certainly have not said a “derisive” word I may be about to. Karen, I would love to understand your obvious antipathy towards our current President. What lack of leadership are you referring to? His obvious intellect and education? His wonderful marriage and family life? His determination to make sure all Americans have access to healthcare and the most important part of that the inability of insurance companies to deny us coverage for pre-existing conditions? The locating and killing of Osama Bin Laden? The push for Marriage Equality which is a fundamental human, civil right which our government (not burdened by Church doctrine) should grant to all citizens? His support of women’s agency and their fundamental private human right to determine their own biological choices? I could go on, and on, and on…. I would truly like to comprehend how a bigoted, racist, misogynistic, white nationalist who has cozied up to the Alt Right and the KKK, who is a cheater, liar, philanderer and to use his own words “Pussy Grabber” is going to make such a great “Leader”. Please Karen, please enlighten us. I can’t wait!

      1. deb

        At the risk of sounding like such a MOM here, I just wish we wouldn’t do this. We’re not going to find the answers we seek in a comment section; we’re just going to end up cross with people a week ago we’d have been happy to trade cooking tips with.

        I apologize for unleashing the kraken, so to speak, by bringing it up, but it was too big of a week to act like nothing had happened. I’d only wanted everyone to know is that this place will always be politics- and judgement-free because cooking for most of us is a respite.

  91. Thank you so much for this. The line about feeling like everything will be okay made me tear up. I’ve been eating my feelings with one of your brownie recipes! You and this site and everything within it are a treasure. Thank you. <3

  92. Madeleine Fitzgerald

    Thank you. I came for the food and stayed for the company, your delightful voice and excellent hospitality. I like hanging out in your kitchen and living room.

    1. Leslie Latour

      Madeleine, your words are perfect! You beautifully stated the reason that I come back to this blog again, and again, and again, and again…. Absolutely splendid recipes to please the stomach, but it’s the voice behind them that makes me smile and lifts my spirit.

  93. Jill

    “The last is the big one. One of the possibly-weird things I think about all the time with this site is hospitality — and I don’t mean schooling others on it because I am so not that kind of domestic diva. Mostly, I mean trying to be as good of a host in this space as I can be.” Lovely! Civility and thoughtfulness are the best!

  94. Alysha

    It seems like I’m constantly printing out your lovely recipes and I wonder if you couldn’t format them so the recipe appears entirely on one page. That would make it easier to see the whole thing while cooking. Thanks.

  95. Jan Duguid

    Deb:

    From a Mom and a Gran and a Grade one teacher….Agreeing with you… and I am in Canada. It is big and emotional and thought provoking…… But the line is fine and very much present, especially under current conditions…to turn this site into something else completely… and not what any of us wanted or what you originally intended this site to be… Having said that, the picture of your daughter is adorable, she looks feisty and high spirited and ready to take on the world!

    1. deb

      I agree. I have been very torn about even mentioning politics this week — I debated it for days and spend at least 50% of the time since regretting it, fearing that someone who doesn’t fall on my side of the country’s divide now feels unwelcome here, especially given that, to my word, I’ve spent the week reading about what I missed and my understanding of the “other” side has grown by leaps and bounds. It’s too easy to carve things out as black and white, and helps nobody.

      As promised, though, this is a one-time departure from this site’s focus; it simply felt inhospitable to be apathetic or tone-deaf this week.

      1. Well, I guess I’m the only conservative that reads your blog, but I think we can all agree that you post some kick ass recipes! I’ve made your Challah bread numerous times and it makes my Jewish friends jealous :) Keep up the great work.

          1. KC

            Hi Deb, I also wanted to say thank you for your post. This is the first time I’ve said something “online” (not even on FB) since the election and I kinda feel nervous. I am a conservative who voted for him (but not in the primary and I wasn’t excited about it in the general. But my policy beliefs led me to that choice. Character IMO was thrown out the window for both candidates). I’m lucky, because my BFF and sister are both democrats so I am very fortunate that I get to have honest, thoughtful and kind dialogue with people I love and respect. We vote differently, but what I have found is we often want the same things, but we disagree on how to make it happen. I truly sympathize with the hurt feelings that half our country feels and I can understand where many are coming from. I just wanted to say that many of us who are on the other political side also believe love, a humble attitude (and good food) goes a long way in healing. Deb, thank you for not ignoring your feelings in your post. Honesty is always the best policy…. especially with a lovely recipe.

            1. NM

              KC, you and I have different political views, but I want to like this comment a million times. I want to put it on giant billboards. Especially this: “We often want the same things, but we disagree on how to make it happen.”
              I am one of the sad people, but the more I read and think, the more I am thinking that if what comes out of this whole hard, sad, vicious election season is that if every one of us on all the sides resolves to be kinder and work harder to understand each other, then good will have come of it. And in the meantime, as someone above said, hugs and cheese and cookies for everyone! (As it happens, I am also hypoglycemic and lactose intolerant, lol. But some situations just really call for cheese and cookies, and a country fighting with itself is one of them.) And also, honest, thoughtful, kind dialogue. Let’s have lots more of that, please.

  96. Luni

    Thank you Deb, for this eloquent, sensitive post. Sending warmth and love from Australia, where many of us, too, are heartbroken and sad this week. Glad to see I’m not the only one comfort baking! When the overwhelming urge to do something nice for the world hit, I made your blueberry polenta cake – one batch for my workmates, one for the shelter. Thank you for all that you do.

  97. I really needed to hear a reference to what has happened and very much appreciate the nuanced and intelligent way you have handled this. I really don’t think this is the time to be squeamish about mentioning politics or offending far-right sensibilities. Thank you as always for your fantastic recipes and lively writing.

  98. Long time fan, first time poster–I just wanted to thank you for acknowledging the election and your politics while many women bloggers are ignoring both. Women’s safety should be a human rights issue and not a partisan issue. Sending everyone support this week both in and out of our kitchens.

  99. embrita

    A few days ago, FB served up a photo memory of when my friends and I stood in line to have our books signed by you in San Fransisco. My youngest son (a nursling at the time) is 4 now and I just printed this recipe with the express purpose of teaching him to safely use our mandolin and learn that sometimes you need to focus when putting things into a pan to bake. I figure this kind of recipe is forgiving like that. It was lovely to meet you four years ago, I’m up in Portland now and should you tour again I will stand in line at Powells with my not-nursing kids to get your signature again. This space has been one I frequent almost daily and I am so grateful for it. Also – I have taken to printing recipes from your site and sliding them into your book near similar recipes…and as proof that these things are written in our DNA — last month I inherited my great-grandmother’s Good Housekeeping cookbook that she was gifted in 1924 upon graduating from graduate school (!!!) — she spent until 1932 shoving clippings into the book until the spine broke. Good cookbooks inspire that, I suppose. Anyway, I just wanted to share because I figured you could relate. And thank you so much for doing what you do. Food is miraculous and yours is always tasty. <3

  100. Deb, thank you for your beautiful hospitality. I’ve been following you for about 7 years now, and I doubt any other blog has held my interest for half that long. You do so many things with excellence, and I’m as captivated by the meticulous organization of your recipes, the delightfully time-sucking surprise button, and your approachable writing style, as I am by the food.

    Thank you for making this a comfortable, happy space where we can all come and forget about the drama of life for a little bit to think about tasty food instead. (P.S. I made cookies election night, and it helped.) :)

  101. Please Tell! Who makes your lovely Gratin Dish? I assume the one pictured is the larger one of the two you mention? They are hard to find these days….Thanks

    1. deb

      It was part of our now-discontinued dish line we registered for when we got married. Calvin Klein Cargo… you can find some pieces here. Was about to warn you the oval baker was rather ridiculously overpriced at the time but there are many for $20 and less now (!), although in odd colors. Mine is in “sage,” which mostly looks gray in pics.

  102. printandpeg

    This was wonderful. I have already made it twice and now the friend I shared it with plans to make it for Thanksgiving as well. It’s not licorice-y at all (more like a grown up stove top stuffing). So comforting and much needed.

  103. Tricia

    I’m so excited – I just made this tonight. Didn’t have fennel or celery root. Actually, thought maybe the fennel might terrify my husband so didn’t pick it up at the store, and do you think I could find celery root? So I used a couple of parsnips with my potatoes and sweet potatoes.

    How else I modified – 1.5 cups each of broth and heavy cream. I figured you were willing to play around with the balance, so I did too.

    NO GRUYERE. Seriously? Thanks, grocery store with one job. So I used Edam, Mozza, and Cheddar. Probably won’t be quite as gourmet, but it shall be cheesy.

    So I am waiting anxiously….

    I love your recipes. I have tried probably 6 or 7 and I am NOT a chef. I’m barely a domestic wife and mom. I’m full time teacher and full time runner-arounder-of-boys. So time in the kitchen is rare. You are my go-to for recipe ideas. Not one of your recipes has let me down yet. Thank you! I also appreciate your writing – its refreshing to just sit and visit with you while you share all of the deliciousness. Keep it up!

  104. I made this tonight to test it for Thanksgiving. It was fantastic! I was looking for an alternative to sweet potato mash or casserole, and this will be perfect. I might just skip the yukons and add more sweet potato and celery root. One question though – could I assemble the entire dish, including liquids (and wait on breadcrumbs) 1-2 days before, but wait to bake until the day of? I believe you’re suggesting cooking it in advance and then reheating, but we should have enough space to cook the day of. Thanks!

  105. Cath

    I love that the directions call for the largest bowl you own. I would probably be embarrassed for you to see my largest bowl–I bought it specifically to make caramel corn and it’s close to three feet in diameter. (I store it in the cupboard over the fridge.)

  106. Carol

    Deb,
    The 2008 financial crash was my awakening. i needed to find out the truth behind why it happened. Good to hear that you are seeking to understand too for it is a continuation of the same story.

  107. Hello Deb. I am absolutely in love with your blog but I never commented before.
    I live in Buenos Aires Argentina and I also have a (humble) food blog and also a cooking book. But enough about me.
    I just wanted to write today to tell you almost the same has happened politically speaking here in my country, last December, in 2015. It started happening all over Argentina, Brazil, Peru. Democracy is changing and so are its rules, even if it does not seem that way, even if we feel cheated, deceived, sadly and shockingly surprised . It’s a time for reflection, a sad time but also a time for growing at home, for protecting our children and try not to fall in “the gap”, as we call here the abrupt division between two sides that appear to sit at opposite sides of the table… but all need to feed.
    I send you my love. I really thank you for your excellence, dedication and presence in every word of your blog.

  108. Michelle Hill

    This looks delicious. I’ve been looking for a new and different casserole for Thanksgiving and I think I would give this one a try. I’m a personal friend, without giving away my political views may I just thank you for at least addressing it. It has been so weird to go to blogs and gram sites and having no acknowledgement of what was seriously a huge seismic shift in our country. There is a way to address it without getting political and you did that beautifully. Anything less feels disingenuous and unreal, like some sort of fantasy surreal Bizarro world. It has turned me off some sites that I used to really like and I guess I’m not alone in that. But time will tell if that fades.

  109. I do this – plan a shindig then remember a zillion other things happening immediately before said party. I’d be beyond thrilled if someone served this gratin to me, it looks so full of flavour.

  110. kat

    Dear Deb, thank you for sharing you thoughts. We send you good energy in dark times, from Toronto. We made your Ziti with mushrooms and root vegetable gratin today, to brighten the time. (There are two people in this household, and a cat – so there is a lot of brightening, ehem, eating, happening :)

    Here are some thoughts that may help the fennel doubters. First, I do not like licorice. Second, I do like fennel because I find it mild on the licorice-meter. Third, I had one fennel at home and that’s what I used, even though it was less than prescribed in the recipe… I can safely say that the dish is deep and warming and fantastic and does not taste of licorice or fennel. It has depth and complexity but you cannot pinpoint where it comes from.
    If I were to change one thing, I would add more cheese. This dish is huge. Like huge. So 2 cups of Gruyere can easily become 2.5 or even 3. Then all your fennel fear may be assuaged by the lovely and serious cheesiness.

  111. Jess

    I like this recipe and it came together pretty quickly, all ingredients considered. I found that it was easier, after mixing all ingredients, to kind of place the veggies in an orderly way with my fingers and then pour the liquids on top last before the breadcrumbs. Going in the freezer for Thanksgiving! Thanks so much!

  112. Kimberly

    Love the post!

    Please tell me you will include your Friendsgiving game plan for making your meal ahead? I cannot get enough of Thanksgiving menus and plans.

    Thanks for being such a gracious hostess all these years!

  113. Catherine

    Hi Deb! Just wondering if you could give me any advice on making this dish vegan…I’m thinking a combination of almond milk, veggie stock, and nutritional yeast, but I’m not sure if that would empart the same kind of richness to the dish as using cream would.

    Thanks!

    1. deb

      How do you feel about coconut milk? Because it is fattier, it will impart more richness. Also, Ina’s recipe uses 2 1/2 cups cream and 1/2 cup broth, as I mention up top. I find cream heavy enough that 1 cup is fine. But with a less-rich “milk,” you might want to go back to the 2 1/2 cups so it still feels creamy.

  114. Hildie Lyddan

    Thank you Debbie for your sentiments. I totally agree. So now, on a wonderfully unimportant important topic, – a question. -/ my family does not like fennel at all!! What can I substitute??

    1. deb

      More of all the other vegetables. I suppose nobody will believe me that you cannot taste it here? Long-caramelized with onions, it loses all licorice-y vibe.

  115. caps

    From your “Thanksgiving: Show-Stealing Sides” email I just received, what is the salad dressing in the big jar in your fridge? Thank you!

    1. deb

      It’s really buried on this site, but I’m great fan of what I call my Hopelessly Inauthentic Caesar dressing. It keeps great for 1 to 2 weeks and it always a hit. These days, I’m tossing it with baby kale and shards of parmesan. I use the mayo option and skip the anchovy and nobody is the wiser. Don’t overdo the garlic — it blooms like crazy as the dressing rests.

  116. Cara

    Thanks Deb for your continued efforts to keep this site classy. I lean more right than left, but this election has still been a rollercoaster with emotions running high on both sides. If people on both sides had your tact and sensitivity I don’t think we’d be in the position we are today. This site has been a fantastic respite from the nonstop political bombardment on social media and I know that sometimes that tone must be hard to maintain, so thanks for continuing to make everyone feel welcome! In the meantime, I hope that you’re hanging in there – if I lived in NYC I’d make you some cookies (probably using one of your recipes :) )

  117. Katy

    Freeze coooked or uncooked? I made this dish and it is truly fantastic! Would love to freeze half next time and wonder how you suggest doing it.

    1. deb

      I’m freezing it baked already. If you’re worried about it overcooking, I sometimes cook it maybe 10 minutes shy of done so that I can reheat it and add a little color without it going over. I’ll let you know how it defrosts in a few days!

        1. deb

          Defrost it in full in the fridge for a day. It’s rarely an exact science but I’d estimate 25 to 45 minutes 300/350, i.e. longer if lower and shorter if higher.

  118. Jenni

    A word in defence of the mere mention of politics in this post: no-one is trying to turn this into a political forum and I expect it will return to being politics-free again this week. But at some point, when political events are so momentous (for good or bad, it was certainly surprising to most last week) it becomes ridiculous not to acknowledge it. I’m not American nor live in the US and even I would have thought it the elephant in the room if you guys shook the world last Tuesday and we read about root vegetables as if nothing had happened.
    One of the most beautifully written and moving posts on this site (to accompany one of the best recipes) is Deb’s account of her 9-11 memories and anniversary, in the red wine chocolate cake post. Yes it’s a food blog, but politics and world events is about how we are governed, what kind of planet we live in and, ultimately, how we treat each other. It doesn’t get any bigger than that, and that it occasionally makes a fleeting appearance on this site is a testament to honest and intimate writing style that we all keep coming back for.

  119. Arwen

    I made this last night. I too was wary of the fennel but I decided to trust Deb and give it a try. The whole dish was wonderful! The fennel just adds to the overall tasty complexity and there was no licorice to it at all. My anise despising child took seconds (maybe even thirds).

    I forgot to buy heavy cream so I used 1.5 c half&half and 1.5 c chicken broth. Also, I cannot resist adding a little nutmeg to pretty much anything with gruyere so I did that too. Other than that I made this just as written. Yum!

    (As suggested) I baked this split into two: a glass pyrex pie plate and an enamel oval casserole. We ate the pie plate last night and I froze the enamel casserole to bring out in a couple of weeks when I’ll have more people around.

    Thank you, Deb! I’ve been a quiet fan for a few years now and thought it about time I said “thank you” for your humor and wonderful culinary ideas!

  120. Nancy

    Beautifully said. What has gotten me thru this past week has been cooking and humor. Thanks for providing both (that white bean pot pie hit the spot on many levels😊)

  121. Every book on that list is written by a white person. If we want to understand this election — which was so much about race, and will have a much more direct impact on the lives of people of color — we (and the NYT) have to do better than this reading list.

    1. Valerie Hoiness

      KMCollins74, you’re 100% correct, which is why ‘Between the World and Me’ is on my bedside table these days as a starting point to a deep dive. That said, I feel as though people of all colors and creeds were shocked last week, and the people whose decision I couldn’t understand are the people described in that book list.

    1. deb

      I’ll share a menu as soon as I decide on it. The truth is I’ve been up to my eyeballs reshooting and retesting cookbook recipes this month and have barely planned. I do have this gratin in the freezer, a new pie I’ll share in a day or two, a pie I’m putting in the next book and a turkey on order, which, btw, was harder to find than we’d expected! From the farms to the good butchers, they’re not coming in until this weekend, and we need it a day or two earlier.

  122. The Mad Saint

    Deb, I have barely been on the Internet since Tuesday night. Today I checked your site, and I was hoping against hope that you WOULD say something about the election. Because we can’t be silent any more. We can’t pretend that the personal and political are separate. The minute you say something, anything, that references our politics, you risk alienating some segment of your readers. I know you know this. Thank you for doing it anyway. Few things have made me feel better this week but your thoughtful honesty and bravery was a small light in the darkness.

  123. Carol Gilchriest

    My sister in law turned me on to your site. I am from NY and found it refreshing. But, now you have saddened me. Why did you bring up your personal regret about the election. With all the crap that is going on in this country, I found your blog a place to refresh and step back from the noise. Again, why did you bring up the election and your opinion about it. I am proud to say I voted for Mr. Trump and I am also proud that he won. He is our President elect.

    1. deb

      Hi Carol — I added the footnote about the election specifically to say that there’s a reason I don’t ever — save this one time when it felt tone-deaf to pretend there was nothing bigger going on last week — discuss politics on this site: It’s divisive and distracting from what we all actually enjoy, cooking. I look forward to returning to normal this week with a new (and I think awesome) recipe.

  124. Stephanie

    Thank you, Deb. For providing an unyieldingly consistent and lovely resource for delicious, satisfying, fool proof recipes.

    Your red cabbage slaw with feta + pistachios will grace my Thanksgiving table for the 2nd year in a row. Your Mushroom Bourguignon will be my birthday dinner meal going on … 5 years this December? No one else in my house eats it, which means all the more for me :)

    But it’s for the most comforting dish of all, Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter, that I have to give you my most heartfelt thanks. I know it’s adapted from Marcela Hazan, but I would never have known about it if not for you. Seriously few things have brought me comfort in the past week (and in life) more than this simple dish. At a recent dinner party, we played an ice-breaker sort of game with questions like “Last meal?”. I blew so many minds with this recipe. People simply cannot believe it could taste so good. And as a self-proclaimed foodie since age 10 (?), I stand by my last meal answer: The tomato + butter + onion pasta from Smitten Kitchen.

    xo

  125. Leslie Wilcott-Henrie

    I made this on a test run for Thanksgiving, using fennel, sweet potato, celery root and parsnips as my four root vegetables. I used less cream and more broth, but kept the overall quantity the same. It was delicious, and super easy. Saute, chop, grate, mix, bake. Note: I halved the recipe and it served four hearty eaters, and could have served six. It was pretty much perfect and will be on my Thanksiving table.

  126. Monica

    Just wanted to thank you for the note at the end. Your site is always a respite, but has been especially so this week. Thank you for creating a space where we can delight in creative and practical, whimsical and yummy, and improve our lives by scenting them with cinnamon and sugar, or roasted onion, or the many wonderful smells that make home.

  127. Lisa DeHoyos

    Thanks so much for the reading list.
    I often bake when I’m stressed, and last Wednesday I made muffins, chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin bars, brownies and cupcakes.
    Still struggling some, but reassured by posts like yours.

  128. J

    This looks fantastic! I think I’ll have to try this before Thanksgiving. And this cookbook by Ina Garten sounds like a book that I’d want to check out. Thanks Deb!

    p.s. Also want give you a hug and thanks for the link. You should know that your lovely and very useful blog has been a sanctuary of a sort for me the last x month. Much appreciation.

  129. Annette

    I sauteed the onion and fennel but pressure-steamed the root vegetables (5 min on High), so after I mixed everything together, the dish just needed enough oven-time for the bread crumbs to brown. In my convection oven, that only took 15 minutes. I’m really pleased with the result – delicious!

  130. I wrote this article and it has not been published but I wanted to share it with you. Despite its particularly Catholic slant I think it reflects what you say about the work of the food blogger. Feel free if you want to excerpt any part.. I used your pizza recipe :)
    /Users/sbeirne/Desktop/What Food Blogs Contribute to My Faith.pages

  131. michelle

    Hi Deb-

    I’d love to make this but I need to make this dairy free. Will almond milk or soy not give it that creaminess it may need?

  132. Sara

    This recipe sounds delicious, and I love fooling my kids into trying new foods disguised by a layer of bread crumbs and butter! (The craziest I’ve gotten is a sweet potato recipe I found on here, with mixed results). On another note, I appreciate the book list link. I doubt any local libraries will carry them, but I’ll figure something out :)

  133. Paige Fisher-Streno

    Deb,

    This post was as good for my belly as it was for my soul. I have shed so many tears this past week.

    But what are your thoughts on a collard or mustard green gratin? Or some other different twist on greens for Friendsgiving? We’ve finally had our first frost here in NC, so we are excited about those tender greens!

  134. John

    Deb, when you talk about making this ahead of time, do you mean to prepare it and then bake it right before serving, or prepare AND bake it and then reheat later on? I’m a little confused.

  135. Susan Pollock

    Just want to make a correction regarding election outcome. Half of the population did not vote for Donald Trump. Only half of the eligible voters actually voted and of that less than half voted for Trump. Estimate is Hillary Clinton will receive around 2 million more votes when all votes are counted. Simple math tells me that Trump voters are less than a quarter of the eligible voters.

  136. Brooke

    I made this for an office potluck this week and everyone loved it! There is no, I repeat, no licorice flavor that came through; just a rich and decadent yet comforting dish. Most people asked what the vegetables were because they could tell they weren’t just potatoes, and a lot of people hadn’t tried these root vegetables before so it was cool! I cooked it in the 13×9 pan and the liquid ended up bubbling over and smoking up the oven a bit, so if I do it again I will probably split into two pans as suggested or make sure to have something under it to catch the drips. Oh, I also used about 8 oz of cheese (without rind) and nearly doubled the thyme and garlic because I love those things. :)

  137. putnamk

    I made this for Friendsgiving. The flavor was wonderful. 2 cups of stock was too much, even after sitting in the fridge for two days. I would recommend dropping it down to one cup to avoid a soupy gratin. Otherwise, superb.

  138. sinaasappeljetzt

    Hi Deb, this gratin smelled and tasted wonderful, but sadly I was a little unhappy with the texture of the dish. Although I baked it for only 60 minutes the sweet potatoes were very soft at that point and the fennel had nearly disappeared (note to fennel-opponents: not only don’t you taste it, you also cannot quite identify it…). And mushy vegetables make me sad :-( Any thoughts on why my gratin was overcooked in just two thirds of the suggested time?
    Also, I had the same issue like Putnamk: my version of the dish was a little “watery”, next time I would minimize the amount of liquids.
    Thank you in advance! Sina

    1. deb

      Not sure why the sweet potatoes disintegrated, but I know that fennel was sauteed specifically so it would wilt/meld with the other vegetables. To keep it more textured, you could slice it thin and bake it like the other gratin vegetables that go in raw. I wonder if you might have more luck with slices of butternut squash holding together rather than the sweet potatoes. It’s possible mine were quite soft too, but we didn’t really notice it if so — it wasn’t mush, from what I remember.

      1. sinaasappeljetzt

        Thank you for answering, Deb! Definitely yes to not sauteeing the fennel next time. I think, I also could try cutting the sweet potatoes into bigger slices than the yukon gold potatoes.
        Also: the leftovers reheated wonderfully and we liked the taste even more after the gratin spent a day resting in the fridge! :-)

  139. Melissa

    I’m new to the smitten kitchen community and have been very impressed by the recipes I’ve tried so far. My friend hosted a Friendsgiving yesterday and I brought this dish. I didn’t change a single thing, despite my initial wariness of the fennel. I’m definitely not a big fan of the taste but after reading so many reviews, I decided to stick with it. I’ve never made or tasted gratin before so I had nothing to compare it to. A few moments after a friend tasted it, she beckoned me over and declared it to be the best gratin she’s ever had. She specifically said that the consistency was “perfect” and she loved the taste. I text her the recipe :) Thanks, Deb!!

  140. Emily W.

    Made this for a family dinner last night and it was a hit—perfect for the first night of November’s frost. I followed the instructions to cut all the root vegetables to the same size (1/4 in) and found that everything baked to just the right tenderness. My dinner was slightly delayed (when isn’t it? 😊) and the gratin waited in a low oven just fine. The top browned a bit more than in Deb’s photo, but everyone loved the lovely crunch it provided. As others have noted, you really don’t taste the fennel—it provides a silky texture and earthy flavor, but nothing like licorice.
    And best of all, I have another pan of it in the freezer waiting for the Thanksgiving table!!

  141. Made this for a family dinner last night and it was a hit—perfect for the first night of November’s frost. I followed the instructions to cut all the root vegetables to the same size (1/4 in) and found that everything baked to just the right tenderness. My dinner was slightly delayed (when isn’t it? 😊) and the gratin waited in a low oven just fine. The top browned a bit more than in Deb’s photo, but everyone loved the lovely crunch it provided. As others have noted, you really don’t taste the fennel—it provides a silky texture and earthy flavor, but nothing like licorice.

  142. ljelgass

    Hi Deb,

    Thanks for your sentiments re: election. On a personal note, it was a rough day to teach high schoolers and make sense of things (especially for young women) here in Chicago. On to Thanksgiving, though… Do you think I could pretty easily swap butternut squash in for the sweet potatoes? We already have mashed potatoes with thanksgiving dinner, and I don’t want it to turn into an accidental potato fest.

    1. deb

      I feel like it would work just fine but without trying it, I cannot promise it won’t fall apart. I’d expect sweet potatoes to fall apart sooner, but still want to throw that out there as my sole concern.

      1. ljelgass

        Hi Deb, I swapped the butternut squash in for the sweet potatoes and it was delicious. I will say I found there to be a little extra chicken stock in the dish, but I think I 1) should have baked a little longer and 2) might also go a little lighter on the stock next time. (Or 3) let it rest longer before serving.) Nothing fell apart, though. And, again, fabulous flavor. Thanks for the recipe!

  143. maviscmcclellan

    My friend made this for our Friendsgiving and it was SO UNBELIEVABLY DELICIOUS! I could eat it every day for the rest of my life. I am drooling just thinking about it…

  144. anna

    I made this last night, and it’s beautiful. I used the creme fraiche + a small glug of milk, and reduced broth to 1.5 cups. For the veggies I used 1 large onion and two small fennel bulbs, and then 1 HUGE sweet potato, 1 large celery root, 2 yukon golds, a turnip, and a rutabaga to get to 3 pounds of root veggies. It’s not soupy at all, and the veggies are a wonderful texture! I made it in one giant 10×15 pan and it fit well. GAH! The smell while this baking was incredible. Thanks, Deb!!

  145. Rachel

    Hi Deb and crew,
    Any recommendations for temp/time to reheat if we make this the day before? (In London, we’re celebrating this weekend!)

    Thanks so much

  146. Dawna Eastman-Gallo

    This was fabulous, made just as described (well, except russet potatoes since no Yukon gold to be found)! It replaced my traditional root vegetables roasted with herbs and olive oil on our Thanksgiving table. Also, when fennel is used like onions, as in this recipe, it really doesn’t taste licorice-y. I love them this way and am not otherwise a licorice fan. Very good in stir fries, esp with 5 spice powder flavor profile.

  147. Elizabeth

    This was excellent and everyone at our huge, politically diverse, Thanksgiving loved it. Thank you! Heavy cream and root vegetables kept the peace.

  148. Lali

    I made this for Friendsgiving on Monday and Thanksgiving on Thursday. Used exact proportions and recipe, split amongst 2 glass baking dishes. I baked them both Monday, put one in the fridge and reheated in Thursday and they were both PERFECT! Thanks for this addition to the Thanksgiving table!

  149. Anna

    Made this for Thanksgiving. Couldn’t find celery heart so I just upped the gold and sweet potatoes. This was SO amazing, plus we have an extra in the freezer for Christmas. The kids, the adults, even picky me. The only Gruyere the store had on hand had a hickory smoke added, and it actually added to the taste. Some people could have sworn we had bacon in there, but we didn’t. This is definitely going to be “my” side dish from now on.

  150. Julia

    I made this for Thanksgiving! I used all the vegetables, just substituting a small butternut squash for the sweet potatoes. I am not a fan of cream, so I used 2 cups of Better Than Bouillon veggie bouillon (then reducing the Tablespoon of salt to a scant teaspoon because BTB is much saltier than regular broth) with an 8 oz package of thoroughly softened cream cheese whisked in. Usually only a couple of people take a bite of whatever I an offering as a vegetarian alternative to turkey, but this was an unqualified hit! Thank you for sharing a delicious dish and your thoughts.

  151. CarolJ

    This belongs in the “I Made This…Sort of” category, but I’ll post in case my experience might be helpful to someone else. For our two-person Thanksgiving, I made half a recipe (appreciating how easy it was to divide) and baked it in a deep-dish ceramic pie plate, which worked perfectly. I needed to make it gluten free, but I haven’t been satisfied with any of the gluten-free panko options I’ve tried, finding that they end up more as a leathery layer than crispy crust. So I left off the topping. Concerned that the top might then dry out, I covered the dish with foil for the first hour, then took it off to get some browning for the remaining time. Not surprisingly, that resulted in my having too much liquid at the end; I spooned off the excess, and it made an excellent base for the next day’s leftover: cream of root vegetable soup. Next time I think I’ll reduce the liquid overall and up the proportion of cream. Even though the dish didn’t turn out quite as intended, we thought it was delicious.

  152. naema Chowdhury

    Hi! I just wanted to let you know that Ive been following you for a while and made many of your recipes (all soooo yummy), This Thanksgiving, I made my menu entirley from your website. We had this Gratin, your butternut squash lentil salad, green bean casserole, kale and onion stuffing and pumpkin pie tart (inspired by your pie dough!) and a peri peri turkey inspired by your peri peri chicken. Everything was a hit! Thank you thank you thank you for saving my first thanksgiving dinner

  153. April

    Tried this as a dry run for a Christmas side dish this weekend…fantastic! I’d been a tad wary of the flavour combinations (cheese and sweet potatoes?). We were so impressed with this, even using a blend of manchego and cheddar instead of the gruyere.

    And we share your aversion to political talk at the holiday table, even though we are slap-happy lefty Canadians! Thanks for the witty hospitality Deb.

  154. Maria

    This is such a great recipe! thank You! I made it at Thanksgiving, totally per your instructions the day before and it reheated like a treat while the bird rested. so delicious. we also enjoyed the kale, quinoa salad that day. another favorite to make ahead because the kale is so hearty and I just toss in the dressing when I’m ready to serve. love your blog!