New England is home to some of the best dairy and cheese products in the world. Amazing local cheeses are widely available in the Merrimack Valley, and this season we want to encourage folks to pair their CSA treasures and farmers market finds with some local cheeses.
ROAST BEET GRATIN
Start to finish: 90 minutes
Servings: 4-6 dinner portions
1 1/2 pounds red beets
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 pound shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F, then, in a casserole dish (9 by 9 or 11 by 7 are appropriate), place the whole beets and toss with the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Cover with aluminum foil and roast until tender, about 60 minutes. Set the dish aside to cool when the beets are done.
On the stove, in a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and stir in the flour until combined. Slowly add the milk and whisk until smooth.
Add the cheese slowly, about 1 ounce at a time, mixing constantly until all the cheese is combined, then add the thyme, salt and pepper and set the mixture aside to cool slightly.
When the beets are cool, chop them into bite-size pieces and return them to the dish. Note that there will likely be some leftover roasting liquid from the beets that you should leave in the bottom of your casserole dish for the next step.
Next, spoon the cheese mixture evenly on top of all the beets and top with the bread crumbs.
Roast the mixture at 350 F until the bread crumbs are golden brown (10-15 minutes).