The nutty flavour of gruyère cheese works beautifully with the root vegetables in this rich, creamy gratin. Any combination works well but I don’t use beetroot as it stains everything bright red. Celeriac, leeks, swedes and other varieties of kumara are delicious.
600 grams agria potatoes
500 grams orange kumara
300 grams parsnips
1 large fennel bulb
2 large crisp apples, halved and cored
1 cup cream
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons chopped sage
2 cups grated gruyère or aged cheddar cheese
salt and ground pepper
Lightly grease a 6-cup capacity baking dish.
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan bake. Peel the vegetables and cut into ½cm thick slices. Slice the apples 1cm thick. Place the cream, garlic, sage and 1 cup of the cheese in a large bowl and season generously with salt and pepper.
Add all the veges and the apples and turn to combine so every slice is coated with the cream mixture. Hands are best for this. Pick up handfuls and place them standing up in the baking dish, packing them quite tightly together. Pour over the cream mixture left in the bowl, then scatter with the remaining 1 cup of cheese.
Cover with a piece of baking paper, then foil, sealing it tightly. Bake for 1 hour, then uncover and continue to bake until the vegetables are very tender and golden and the liquids are reduced. Rest for a few minutes before serving. Serves 8.