"At every gathering these days, there will be a vegetarian," says Renato Poliafito. Stefania Rubicondo, a baker at Baked and its resident non-meat-eater, brought these wonderful individual pies, filled with a mix of sweet celery root, brussels sprouts and parsnips in a sage-infused cream sauce and topped with tender biscuits made with roasted sweet potato.
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1 pound parsnips, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
1/2 pound pearl onions, peeled and halved (see Note)
1 medium head of cauliflower (1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch florets
1 large celery root (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
20 sage leaves, plus 1 teaspoon chopped sage
6 thyme sprigs, plus 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
5 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Unbaked Sweet Potato Biscuits
1 large egg, beaten
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large roasting pan, toss the parsnips, brussels sprouts, pearl onions, cauliflower and celery root with the olive oil. Add 6 of the sage leaves and 4 of the thyme sprigs and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned in spots. Discard the sage leaves and thyme sprigs. Lower the oven temperature to 375°.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the milk with the chopped onion, parsley, 6 of the sage leaves and the remaining 2 thyme sprigs and bring to a simmer. Cover and let stand off the heat for 15 minutes. Strain the milk; rinse out the saucepan.
Melt the butter in the saucepan. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat, whisking, until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the strained milk to the saucepan, reduce the heat to low and whisk occasionally until very thick, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the chopped sage and thyme and the heavy cream and season with the nutmeg and salt and pepper. Fold the sauce into the roasted vegetables.
Spoon the vegetable mixture into eight large, 4-inch-wide ramekins and top with the unbaked Sweet Potato Biscuits. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the beaten egg and press the 8 remaining sage leaves onto the biscuits. Bake the potpies in the center of the oven for about 15 minutes until the biscuits are golden and risen and the filling is bubbling. Let the potpies cool slightly, then serve.
To peel pearl onions, blanch them in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Let cool, then peel off the skins.
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