Darkest Night of the Year | Truffled Root Vegetable Dauphinoise

I love the Greener Grocer.  You can find so many local things at the shop as well as the occasional rare treat from farther afield.  The most recent delicacy was a quarter pound of Oregon black truffles, which will feature prominently in our Christmas Eve and Christmas day meals.  But my favorite way to use them is in the humblest and simplest dishes where they can show off all their earthy fragrance.

For dinner, I cobbled together three things that were sitting in my crisper in need of quick use: a half of a celeriac, a half of a rutabaga and a half of an onion (from vegetable soup to atone for all my enchilada sins in Texas).  Looking across at the shelf with the dairy, I spied the half gallon of Snowville whipping cream (uh, yeah, sorry vegetable soup) that needed to be used, too.  Voila! Dauphinoise!  Normally a potato dish with cheese, I had a suspicion combining the root vegetables with the silky fat in the cream would make the truffle the star.  I love it when an idea comes together.

Truffled Celeriac Dauphinoise, Serves Four

1/4 large rutabega, very thinly sliced (use a mandolin if you’ve got one)

1/4 large celeriac, very thinly sliced

1/8 large onion, very thinly sliced

2/3 c heavy cream (Or you can wimp out and use half and half.  If you use skim milk, I will come to your house and well, I don’t know what I’ll do, but I’ll be mad.)

Salt and pepper

1 small truffle

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In two small shallow gratin dishes, (mine are oval and measure about 8 inches across and are about an inch and half deep) place the thin slices of celeriac, rutabaga and onion in alternating layers, very lightly salting and peppering each layer as you go along.  When you have filled each dish with the vegetables, pour 1/3 cup of cream over each.   Place the dishes on a baking sheet (they may bubble over) and slide into the oven for 30 to 40 minutes.  They are done when the vegetables are tender (a butter knife slides in easily).

When the dauphinoise are done, slice or grate the truffle over the tops of each and allow the dishes to sit and set up a bit.

I served this with a simple chicken breast (boneless, but skin left on) that was seasoned with salt and pepper.  I seared it on both sides in a very hot 10-inch pan that was coated with olive oil, then deglazed the pan with vermouth and added in three ladlefuls of vegetable stock.  I reduced the heat and let it simmer down to a thick glaze.    While that was simmering down, I wilted chard that was sliced in thick ribbons in olive oil, salt pepper and garlic.

Playlist included Vampire Weekend’s cover of Cheryl Cole‘s Fight for this Love.

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