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Monday, March 17, 2014

Recipe: Root Cellar Casserole

I picked this recipe up on a Lenten recipe group on Facebook last year. As always, I tweaked it a bit and made it more to our tastes. It is highly adaptable, you can use whatever hardy vegetables you have, and is an excellent main dish, which is often hard to do during fasting seasons. Our family still eats dairy for much of the fast, so we simply use milk, but vegetable broth or an almond milk or coconut milk would work just fine in this. If you are going to use other vegetables, prepare and cut to similar sized pieces, and maintain the total quantities in the recipe. My husband, who is a devoted meat eater, was satisfied by this and enjoyed it without feeling like he was missing meat. This is a nice dish for potlucks, too. I'm so sorry, I left a doubled amount in here, the milk quantity has been edited to reflect the amount for this size dish.

1/2 cup safflower oil
2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
4 stalks of celery, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
12 small potatoes, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup flour
3 cups milk or vegetable broth
1 pound fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup finely minced parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a large baking pan, or two smaller ones.

In a large pan, heat oil over medium high heat, add onion, celery, and garlic. Cook until onions soften and begin to brown. Add the carrots and potatoes, and cook a little longer, to start to soften them. Mix in salt and white pepper. Cook for another few minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the potato mixture, coating the vegetables well. Add the milk or broth, a little at a time, stirring constantly, until there is a nice sauce. Pour entire mixture into prepared pan, then stir in the peas and parsley to combine.

Bake for 25 - 35 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and lightly browned on top.

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