I've slowly been cooking my way through Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's book River Cottage Veg with a wonderful group of bloggers led by our lovely host Andrea of The Kitchen Lioness. It's been almost two years since The Cottage Cooking Club got its start and it's hard to believe the journey with this book is almost at an end. This month I tackled two recipes....
Three-Root Boulangère (page 64)
I discovered potato boulangère, scalloped potatoes baked in broth instead of cream,
not too long ago when I made Jacques Pépin's recipe. It was delicious.
So my expectations were high for this version with its added celeriac
The flavour certainly didn't disappoint but I did have a few issues: it took much longer than the recipe indicated for all of the vegetables to cook through - I suspect it was the
celeriac that was the hold out; there was far too much liquid in it, most of which I poured off; I never achieved a crisp, browned top (I hid it under a layer of melty cheese). In comparing it to the recipe I'd had success with, I saw that much less stock was used (only 720ml/3 cups) for the same amount of vegetables and the dish was baked uncovered the entire time, which I think allowed greater evaporation of the liquid and led to a less wet casserole and a crisped top.
We really enjoyed this in the end and I think it's a great alternative to an all-potato boulangère but next time I'll adopt some of M. Pépin's tricks to perfect it.
"Vegiflette" Toastie (page 206)
Tartiflette, the French dish of cheese, ham and potatoes that inspired this sandwich is unfamiliar to me but I'm a huge fan of Hugh's toasties and the combination of bitter greens and cheese sounded particularly good. It was also a great way to use up leftover cooked potatoes I had. The recipe didn't disappoint: the Gruyère I used went perfectly with the bitter radicchio and crisped potatoes and like all of the toasties in the book, was a quick but very satisfying meal.
Only one month to go!