Creamed Fennel Celery Gratin
Gratins are a delicious way of enjoying vegetables in Fall and Winter. This technique comes French cuisine and can be used for a variety of vegetables.
This gratin is made of celery and leek, with a topping of creamed fennel, vegan Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. It has a delicate flavor and, unlike gratins that use potatoes or other heavier vegetables, it is light and appeasing.
- 1 fennel bulb
- 3 tablespoons coconut butter
- Pinch of pepper
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Pinch of dried dill
- 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
- ½ cup soy cream
- 8-10 celery sticks
- 2 medium-sized leeks
- 3 tablespoons grated vegan Parmesan-like cheese
- 2 tablespoons rice cream
- 3 tablespoons whole wheat breadcrumbs
- Minced parsley, to taste
Prepare the creamed fennel first. Rinse the fennel bulb, chop off the green ends and halve it. Discard the outer layer and slice the rest. Dice each slice into smaller chunks, so they will cook quickly. Heat to medium two tablespoons coconut butter in a large skillet. Add the fennel and season with pepper, nutmeg and dill. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the fennel is soft. Then, add a tablespoon of whole wheat flour and stir well until it’s absorbed. Stir in half of the soy cream and take off the heat.
Transfer the fennel mix to the food processor and mix until you obtain a thick cream. Add the rest of the soy cream and mix manually until you obtain a smooth and lump-less cream. Set aside to cool down. Clean the skillet you used with a quick rinse and add another tablespoon coconut butter in it. Heat to low to melt the butter.
Rinse and chop off the leafy parts of the celery. Halve each stalk and dice them into small chunks. Chop off the root and green parts of the leek. Halve them lengthwise and rinse them well under running water to remove all the impurities. Dice them into smaller pieces and transfer them to the skillet with the melted butter. Heat to medium and cook for 5-6 minutes, until the celery and leek are soft. Season with a little pepper, to taste. Take off the heat.
Butter a baking dish and transfer the celery and leek. Lay in a way to cover entirely the bottom of the dish. Cover the vegetable layer with the fennel sauce. Sprinkle the vegan Parmesan cheese evenly on the surface. Then, sprinkle the bread crumbs. Drizzle with a little rice cream and finally top with a handful minced parsley. Put into the oven and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Take out of the oven and let settle for 10-15 minutes before serving.