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  • Seasonal local food recipe No.111: Kohlrabi, potato and spinach gratin

    Posted on September 2nd, 2011 charlotte No comments

    Camel CSA’s weekly veg box members keep asking: “What’s that pale greenish-white sputnik-like vegetable in the veg boxes? And what do I do with it?”

    Kohlrabi are easy to grow, not often seen in the shops and highly underrated. They have the combined taste and texture of radishes and turnips – but are milder, crisper and more juicy.

    I love to eat smaller ones raw – just peel and slice them into batons or matchsticks. They can be grated as a crunchy addition to salads, made into a kohlrabi remoulade, or cubed and steamed before dressing with oil and lemon juice. Some people even stuff them! (But I think life’s too short for that.)

    This recipe comes with some useful tips on cooking with kohlrabi from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in the Guardian. He says: “If your kohlrabi still has its green leaves attached, combine them with the spinach in this tasty gratin.”

    The spinach could be replaced with some of the Swiss chard we’re getting in Camel CSA’s weekly veg boxes at the moment. Oh – and I used creme fraiche instead of double cream.

    If you have just one kohl rabi, you could make this for two people (or for four as a side dish) simply by dividing the amounts by three.

    Serves 6

    Preparation: 20 minutes
    Cooking:  35 – 40 minutes

    1 tbsp sunflower oil
    1 knob butter, plus a little more for greasing the dish
    2 medium onions (about 600g), halved and finely sliced
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    500g kohlrabi, peeled and cut into 3mm thick rounds
    250g potatoes, peeled and cut into 3mm rounds
    2 tsp thyme leaves, chopped
    200ml double cream
    200ml water (or chicken or vegetable stock)
    1 big handful baby spinach, or spinach mixed with kohlrabi leaves
    1 tbsp parsley, chopped

    For the topping
    60g fresh breadcrumbs
    25g butter, melted
    45g cheddar or hard goat’s cheese, grated


    Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Place a medium-sized frying pan over a medium heat. Add the oil and butter, wait until it foams, then add the sliced onion and a pinch of salt, and sauté for 12 minutes, until soft and starting to take on a little colour.

    Throw in the kohlrabi, potatoes and thyme, and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing the mixture occasionally, for another five minutes.

    Pour over the cream and stock, simmer gently until the liquid is reduced by half, stir in the spinach and parsley, then place in a lightly buttered gratin dish, about 30cm x 20cm x 7cm in size, levelling it out with a spatula as you go. Place the gratin dish on a baking tray.

    Blitz together the breadcrumbs, butter and cheese in a blender, and sprinkle over the top of the filling. Bake the gratin in a hot oven for about 35-40 minutes, until all golden and bubbling.

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