Swede is a west country staple, so we are sure we’re not the only ones who run short of ideas come this time of the season. So, having mashed it with various casserole dishes, and faced with a couple of these purple beauties hiding guiltily in the back of the pantry this week, we found ourselves asking this very question.
It turns out that swede is a great alternative to potato when making a classic tartiflette. This slow baked gratin dish makes the most of the peppery swede, but celeriac or potato would be a good alternative.
Tartiflette: A root veg gratin baked with cheese and bacon. Perfect for days when spring snaps back to winter and a chill is in the air. A meal on its own but serves well with sausages, lamb chops and steamed green veg of your choice
The cheese: Cornish brie or Davidstow cheddar, approx. 250g * this is a really good way to hoover up those pieces of forgotten cheese likely to find their way to the bin quicker than into a sandwich. We have never had a mix that didn’t work out – but only use Cornish Blue if you REALLY like it!
What you will need: 18cm gratin dish – or brownie tin of similar size and depth A blustery day and a hearty appetite
- 1 swede, peeled, cut into smallish cubes
- 1 bag new potatoes, skin left on (waxy potatoes will hold together better than floury ones but not essential to success of the dish) and quartered – similar size to swede chunks
- 2 tbsp Trewithen butter
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- A rasher or 3 of Primrose Herd bacon – back or streaky – chopped small
- 1 glass dry white wine or chicken stock
- 200ml crème fraiche
- 250 g cheese cut into largish (2cm) chunks
- Thyme sprig (if you happen to have one to hand)
- 1 clove of garlic, cut in half
Boil the swede and potatoes in well-salted water until just tender to a fork, but not cooked right through – 3-4 minutes. Tip into a colander, shake, drain well and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, saute the onions and bacon in half the butter until the onions are soft and both are beginning to brown. Tip in the wine or stock, bring to a simmer, and reduce to nearly nothing. Remove pan from heat and stir in crème fraiche.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark six. Heat the remaining butter in a frying pan. Saute swede and potatoes (with thyme if using) until golden, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon or spatula. Cut the cheese.
The cream should coat everything and still have some to spare – but this will depend on how old the veg is. The older it is the more liquid it will absorb. Add a glug of milk or cream if the mixture is a little dry.
Rub an ovenproof dish with the cut clove of garlic, cover the base with half the swede mix. Discard thyme if you have used it, its purpose has been served. Spoon over half the onion and bacon mixture and season well. Top with half the cheese then repeat the layers, with the remaining cheese scattered on top.
Bake for 15 minutes until browned and bubbling (stick it under the grill for five more minutes if you want it really crisp), then serve with a cold glass of dry white wine.
More swede ideas
We love swede mashed in place of potato on a shepherd’s pie, smashed with parsnip to have with sausages, or mixed with leftover stuffing to make patties. All of these are excellent additions to bubble and squeak!
Tips: You cannot have too much cheese. Seriously. One of the best we made used a small Cornish brie and 200g cheddar.
A whole cheese can be used without being cut into chunks – slice in half horizontally and put half in the middle and half on top, rind side down.
You don’t need potatoes – all swede works brilliantly, especially if you want to use some blue cheese. Leeks work great if you want to use them up – just saute gently with the onion and bacon and add a splash of water from the kettle if they brown a little quickly.
Cream (double or single) can be substituted for crème fraiche.