Rutabaga Au Gratin with Leeks and Sage – Battle Spherical

March 28, 2012 - Written by Diana

So many spherical things, what to do, what to do, spherical ingredient, or spherical dish?…  I had to decide quickly because the month was winding down for this month’s Culinary Smackdown – Battle Spherical.  Rutabaga, mango, oranges.  Are oranges too round to be spherical?  Is a lime more spherical?  Looking up sphere – it has to be perfectly round, well, then mango isn’t spherical, or lime, but the rutabaga was pretty darn round (Drat – now I remember that I forgot a photo of a rutabaga before so that you could see how round it was.

My son’s friend was over and asked what I was peeling and I told him it was a rutabaga – similar in taste to a turnip.  It is a swede turnip, or a yellow turnip and a cross between a turnip and cabbage.  The skin is thin, but difficult to peel because it’s so big and round.  I just used a big knife to skin it.  Then I sliced it thinly and cut the slices into pieces.  Since this is a play on another classic – potatoes au gratin, think of the slices to be similar in size to that.  Instead of onion, I thinly sliced a leek plus chopped up fresh sage from the herb bed outside.

I made a cheese sauce and threw in different types of ends of cheeses but also shredded some in between layers of rutabaga and cheese. One of my favorite things to do with the ends of cheeses is to throw it into a cheese sauce or into a grilled cheese panini .

This is my entry to Battle spherical and if it helps Destiny – the friend’s girlfriend who also stayed for dinner thought I was the clear winner ( though she wasn’t considering any of the other great entries). This Culinary Smackdown thing is challenging but fun.

Rutabaga Au Gratin with Leeks and Sage - Battle Spherical
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An au gratin recipe that uses rutabaga's and leeks instead of potatoes and onions.
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 6-7
  • 1 large rutabaga
  • 1 large leek
  • 2 large handfuls of sage
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1½ cup milk
  • nutmeg
  • 1 cup shredded cheese for sauce
  • ½ cup shredded cheese for layers
  1. Thinly slice rutabaga and leek.
  2. Chop sage to flake size.
  3. Butter glass pan or casserole dish.
  4. Layer rutabaga, leeks, sage, grated cheese, salt and pepper
  5. Then a second and third layer.
  6. In a separate saucepan, melt butter, whisk in 2 tbs flour and keep whisking until incorporated.
  7. Whisk in a half a cup of cold milk and thicken over heat slowly while whisking.
  8. Add the other cup of milk and whisk and heat slowly to let thicken.
  9. Grate ¼ of a whole nutmeg into sauce.
  10. Slowly add cheese while whisking to create a smooth cheese sauce.
  11. Pour over top of Rutabaga layers, grate cheese over top.
  12. Put into oven at 350 for about 30 minutes covered with foil, then another 5 - 10 to brown cheese on top.
Use real whole nutmeg and grate it yourself - so much better than pre grated. Don't use bags of pre-grated cheese - it contains a substance to prevent caking and doesn't melt as well as grating your own cheese.