Winter Vegetable Gratin 2.0

This healthy and scrumptious recipe came to me via a dear friend who actually hates turnips. I’m not all that crazy about them myself, but they are delicious in this recipe! Feel free to use any combination of root vegetables: sweet potatoes, parsnips, onions, carrots, potatoes, turnips, etc. The original recipe called for gruyere cheese and low fat milk. We like spice and heat so I kicked it up with red peppers flakes and japapeno jack AND I replaced the milk with chicken broth and white wine. Both versions are good so feel free to make whatever you are craving. Oh, did I mention both are relatively healthy? Well, definitely a more healthy choice than traditional scalloped potatoes and every bit as delish!

Makes 4 large servings

2 pounds winter root veggies scraped clean/peeled and sliced into thin pieces
(I used 1 sweet potato, 1 turnip, 2 parsnips and 2 carrots.)
3 T. flour
1 T. dried thyme, crushed
2 t. red chili peppers flakes
1 t. garlic powder OR 4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 t. fresh ground pepper
3/4 c. shredded jalapeno jack cheese
3/4 c. dry white wine (I used what we had in the fridge- a pinot grigio
3/4 c. organic chicken broth

Clean and slice the root veggies and dump in a large mixing bowl. Grind the spices together in a pestle until the pieces are small. Dump the spices and the flour on top of the veggies and mix together with your (clean) hands until all the veggies are covered with the flour-spice mix. Don’t worry about perfectly coating each slice- just mix it up! Spray a baking dish with a non-stick spray and lay down one-half of the flour coated veggies in the pan. Sprinkle half the cheese on the veggies. Put the other haf on top and cover with the remaining cheese. Carefully pour the white wine and the chicken broth into the dish. You should be able to see liquid  half-way up the side of the pan. Cover the pan with foil and bake in a slow oven (325 degrees) for 1.5 hours OR a fast oven (400 degrees) for 45 minutes. Take the foil off the pan and leave in the oven so the extra moisture can evaporate and thicken the juices. This should take roughly 15 more minutes. This will also give the top of the dish an opportunity to get carmelized/brown.

This can be a vegetarian (not vegan) main dish or a carb side dish depending on what ese you have planned for dinner. The night I made this dish, I shook up chicken breasts cut in half in a bag with flour and cajun seasoning and baked them in the same oven for the last 30 minutes. Added a green veggie and dinner was done. Verdict from my recipe tester? Skeptical at first, but ate two servings and declared it was d*mn good. Umm… I guess it passed! Enjoy!

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