Creamy Potato Casserole

Over the past 42 days, what I have missed most has been potatoes.  Not the store-bought spuds that take on a black cast when you cut them.  The home-grown, organic fresh garden potatoes that are in the cold-room following the growing season.  But being a nightshade, they were on the “avoid” list for the duration of cleanse and rejuvenation.  So today, day 43, I eat potatoes.  Cashew-creamy potato casserole oozing with comfort for a cold and snowy day.

Yield: 6 servings

What you need:

  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered and finely sliced
  • 1 leek, white parts only, halved and finely sliced, 2 cups
  • 4 ribs celery, finely sliced on the diagonal, 1-1/2 cups
  • 1/2 finely diced carrot, 1/4″ dice
  • 2 lbs white potatoes, 4 large
  • 2 cups cashew milk
  • 1 cup water or unsalted vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons roasted garlic, well mashed (about 2 small heads of garlic, if you don’t know how to roast garlic, see the note at the end)
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon yellow or Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot or kuzu
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste.  Since the cleanse my salting has gone way down so most will likely have to amp it back up, 1 teaspoon is a more reasonable amount for the average palate!)
  • lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • a generous amount of chopped fresh dill and parsley, 1/4 to 1/2 packed cups, to taste

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (177 C).
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the sliced onion, leek, celery and diced carrot.
  3. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the cashew milk, water or broth, roasted garlic, nutritional yeast, mustard, arrowroot and salt.  Add the pepper and chopped herbs and whisk again.
  4. Slice one of the four potatoes thinly and layer it over the bottom of a 5 quart Dutch oven or casserole dish.  Top with a third of the vegetable mixture.  Slice a second potato and layer it over the vegetable mixture.  Add another third of the mixture.  Slice a third potato and layer it over the vegetable mixture.  Add the last of the veggies.  Finish with the final potato, finely sliced and layered on top.        DSCN1854
  5. Pour the herbed cashew milk blend over the casserole.
  6. Cover tightly and bake in the heated oven for 1 hour.  Uncover and bake another 35 minutes until the sauce is thick and bubbly.
  7. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Note:  To roast garlic, preheat the oven to 375F (190C).  Place the whole head of garlic, unpeeled, in an oven-proof dish that’s relatively easy to clean and bake until fragrant and oozing, 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the heads.  Let cool and peel, the cloves will pop right out of the skins.  Everything will also be quite sticky and incredibly tasty.

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