I'm not going to lie. Blogging about local, sustainable foods is not as easy in the winter. Everything seems to be the same color.
Don't get me wrong, I still love root vegetables, winter squash, hearty greens, and fresh baked goods as much as the next guy, but I've found myself glancing through old blog photos, dominated by bright shades of green, red, orange, purple... And to think the first farmers market is still a few months off, it's hard not to be a bit less than enchanted by the offerings of these darker, browner months.
I know eating like this through winter will make the spring harvest that much better, and there is something incredibly satisfying about casserole, soup, and roasted vegetables.
That being said, one of the best things about dishes like this root vegetable and mushroom casserole, adapted from this month's Bon Appetit magazine, is that they make life a little easier after I realized asparagus season is still months away.
Luckily, Portland has been getting good doses of winter sun, and I can still find local supplies, from cheese to apples to mushrooms, at a few local vendors. We'll make it, and maybe I'll be a bit more diligent about freezing and preserving the bumper crops this summer.
Eat well, stay warm, and keep your spirits up!
Root Vegetable and Mushroom Pie with Cheddar Rosemary Biscuit Topping
8 to 10 Servings
Adapted from Jeanne Thiel Kelley's recipe
Bon Appetit, March 2009
6 cups homemade vegetable or chicken broth
3 large carrots, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
3 large celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large parsnips, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large rutabaga, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 oz shitake mushrooms, halved
2 portobello mushroom caps
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
3 cups chopped onions
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons dry Sherry or red wine
2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 1/3 cups (or more) chilled buttermilk
Bring broth boil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots and next 5 ingredients. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes. Drain; reserve vegetables and broth.
Melt butter in same pot over medium heat. Add onions; sauté until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Mix in garlic and rosemary; stir 2 minutes. Add flour; stir 1 minute. Gradually whisk in reserved broth, then cream and Sherry. Cook until sauce is thick and reduced to 4 cups, whisking often, about 8 minutes. Mix in mushrooms and reserved vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer filling to buttered 13x9x2-inch baking dish.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake filling, covered, until bubbling, about 50 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare biscuits.
Stir first 4 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in cheese. Gradually add 1 1/3 cups buttermilk, tossing with fork until dough is evenly moistened and adding more buttermilk by tablespoonfuls if dry.
Drop biscuit dough atop hot filling by heaping tablespoonfuls; sprinkle with pepper. Bake uncovered until tester inserted into center of biscuits comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool 15 minutes.