Sometimes, that’s the method I take when writing a recipe or making dinner. Try stuff out, see what happens. Little bit of this, little bit of that, riff on one thing or another. Case in point, recently I had in mind the makings of a gratin. However, we have a family member who is not eating potatoes. No worries, we had parsnips – that would be a cool swap. Also, I am all about the one pot/pan full meal, so decided to use the ground beef and the kale I had in the refrigerator. Cream. Parmesan. Done. I put it together and honestly thought, “well, I have no idea how THAT is going to turn out to be.” Result? Deeeelicious. Obviously, I had some thought that it would be decent, or I wouldn’t have tried it (“oooh, that sounds horrible – let’s do it!”). I definitely had the sense, though, that it would be simply adequate. Wrong. I LOVE this thing. The cream is so good at taming the bite of the parsnip, leaving just the sweet to come through, and that sweet balances the beefiness so nicely. The kale just feels good. My least veggie eater in the house gobbled this. Give it a try, and also try your own hand at tossing things up and seeing how they land. More often than not, your will hit the target.

Beef Parsnip Kale Gratin

Serves 4


1 lb ground beef

2-3 cups (you decide!) baby kale

½ lb parsnips, peeled and cut about 1/4 inch thick on the bias

1 cup heavy cream

¾ cup grated parmesan

½ tsp salt

½ tsp cracked pepper


Heat the oven to 375.  Cook the beef in a skillet over medium heat for about 6-8 minutes, until no longer pink.  Stir in the kale, cream, ½ cup of the parmesan and the salt and pepper. Line the bottom of the baking dish with the parsnips.  Pour the beef mixture over them then top it all with the rest of the parmesan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the parsnips are tender and the cream is bubbling and thickened.

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