Ellie Krieger’s recipes are some of the best things on the planet. We love her creations, and use them whenever we see them. We found this one thanks to the Washington Post.
There’s a lot going on here, but I promise, it’s well worth the effort. It’s actually not all that much effort, just a lot of prep involved—mostly prepping vegetables and cooking the quinoa ahead of time.
Considering how cheesy and delicious this casserole dish is, it’s remarkably healthy—low-fat milk, only a bit of AP flour, a little Gruyere cheese, and lots of grains and veggies. The flavor comes from a wonderful seasoning combination and a little bit of creativity. She recommends red quinoa (available at Wegman’s) for its deep flavor, but any quinoa (and, I suspect, just about any grain) will do. But try the red quinoa. And when you prepare it, do it in stock, not just water (you’ll thank me later). I used Better-Than-Bouillon seasoned vegetable base to make the quinoa, and I used twice the recommended amount. It really rounds the flavor up. I guarantee you’ll be happy if you make it this way.
This is not just another veggie casserole. It is just bursting with flavor. And if a nice meaty bite is something you crave, include some cremini and shiitake mushrooms to the veggies. They will add a nice earthy and “meaty” note to this wonderful dish.
It’s a keeper!
- Olive oil, for greasing the baking dish
- 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
- 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 3/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 1/4 cups (4 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups cooked quinoa, preferably red (from about 3/4 cup/4 1/2 ounces uncooked)
- 4 cups roasted mixed vegetables (such as Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, squash, assorted mushrooms…), coarsely chopped
Roast the vegetables—whichever ones you choose—according to your favorite recipe, until lightly golden brown and beginning to soften.
Prepare the quinoa per package instructions, adding vegetable cubes or stock base to the water. We use “Better-Than-Bouillon” seasoned vegetable base—the best product available (IMHO) for quick stocks.
Position a baking rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Brush a 1 1/2- to 2-quart shallow baking dish with oil.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk and flour until the flour is dissolved. Add the garlic, mustard and paprika and, whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring a few times, until the mixture has thickened to the thickness of cream, about 2 minutes.
Add half of the cheese, the salt and pepper, and stir until the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth, then remove from the heat. Add the quinoa and vegetables to the pot and stir until combined.
Transfer the mixture to the baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly and the cheese on top is nicely browned. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
And what, pray tell, do you think Cheffzilla might be doing for Thanksgiving this year? Really adventurous, I might say, but mighty tasty, too. Allow me to elaborate:
I adapted these recipes a few years ago from ones featured on his “Good Eats” show a couple of years ago by Alton Brown, that wacky TV chef at the Food Network. It turned out so well that it’s become my go-to turkey presentation. I’ve become a devoted advocate of the “spatchcock” method of poultry cooking, as it both cuts down on cooking times, and also allows for a wide range of possibilities in preparing companion dishes. Also, I’m a big fan of panzanella, and this recipe demonstrated to me that it’s not just a summer salad. Beautiful root vegetables, winter squash, shredded Brussels sprouts, a fine sourdough bread, and some fresh herbs from my garden (yes, it is still producing, under a big window in the garage!) make for a really fine-looking and grand holiday dinner, a wide stray from the usual turkey-and-stuffing tradition of years past. Here’s what’s for dinner:
Great any night.
A holiday feast? Priceless!
1 1/2 teaspoons rubbed sage
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/4 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice berries
1 12- to 15-pound whole turkey, neck and giblets removed and reserved for Giblet Stock
1 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled and cubed into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 pounds rutabaga, peeled and cubed into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound red onion, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
8 ounces butternut squash, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 quart container fresh Brussels sprouts, sliced
8 ounces stale, hearty sourdough or multi-grain bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves, finely minced
Freshly ground black pepper
For the turkey: Four days before service, place the salt, sage, thyme, black peppercorns, and allspice into a spice grinder and pulse until the peppercorns and allspice are coarsely ground, 5 to 6 pulses. Set aside.
Set the turkey, breast-side down, on a large cutting board with the tail closest to you. Use heavy-duty kitchen shears or a large chef’s knife to cut up one side of the backbone. Turn the bird around and cut back down the other side of the spine. Reserve the backbone for Giblet Stock. Discard any fat pockets or excess skin found inside the turkey. Turn the turkey breast-side up and use the heel of your hands to press down on both breasts, until you hear a cracking sound and the bird has flattened slightly.
Rub the seasoned salt on both sides of the turkey. Place the turkey on a parchment paper lined half sheet pan, breast-side up with legs running with the long side of the pan. Store, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 4 days.
Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and leave at room temperature for 1 hour.
For the panzanella: Place the parsnips and rutabaga in a large bowl, toss lightly to coat with the oil, and set aside.
Place one rack in the middle of the oven and a second one far enough below so the roasting pan will fit. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Place the turkey directly on the olive-oil-coated middle rack of the oven with the legs perpendicular to the metal bars of the rack. Place the roasting pan with the parsnips and rutabaga on the rack below the turkey and roast both for 30 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Add the red onion to the roasting vegetables and stir to combine. Continue to roast both the vegetables and the turkey until a probe thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 155 degrees F, an additional 40 to 50 minutes.
Remove the turkey from the oven onto a cooling rack set inside a half sheet pan and rest for 30 minutes.
Add the butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, bread cubes and garlic to the roasting vegetables, stir to combine and roast for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the oven and immediately transfer to a serving bowl. Pour the apple cider vinegar in the warm roasting pan, stir and scrape off any browned bits from the pan. Pour the vinegar mixture over the salad, add the thyme and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Carve the turkey and serve with the panzanella.
Barley and Portabella Pilaf
1/2 cup fresh sliced Portabella mushrooms
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cup pearled barley
2-1/2 cups turkey (or vegetable) stock
2 tablespoons green onions (scallions)
1/4 tsp crushed dried rosemary
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Heat olive oil in a saucepan; add mushrooms and saute’ until limp. Add barley, stock, green onion, and rosemary. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 45 minutes, or until the barley is tender and the liquid is completely absorbed. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over pilaf and toss to mix well. Garnish with a little more Parmesan and some fresh-chopped green onions.
We’re serving this with fresh green beans sauteed in butter with sesame seeds and cranberry-orange relish.