Winter is trying to arrive with huge gusts of wind and finally (here that is) glorious downpours soaking our barren, dry soil. Looking at the weather map – it seems to be warm everywhere. So here’s a wintery treat that is not too heavy but comforting and easy to put together. I used fennel, celeriac and carrot – a delicious threesome topped with parmesan, fennel seed and cracked pepper crumble.
Savoury crumble – who’d of thought?
Tucked inside the crumble are cubes of feta, a generous grating of lemon zest, walnuts and roasted garlic. I confess I did have a homemade vegetable stock lurking in the fridge, which needed using. The freezer was full. If not, go for good-quality stock cubes and if you are a meat eater, add a little chicken or bacon (pancetta) and swap the vegetable stock for a meaty one.
We had the celeriac crumble for lunch, but it’s an easy supper or a splendid side dish next to something roasted at the weekend.
Chop the carrot into thickish juliennes, slice the fennel and cut the celeriac into cubes. Toss in the juice of a lemon with a generous drizzle of oil, oregano, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Throw in four cloves of garlic – unpeeled but with the thicker end sliced off and roast for 30 minutes at 180 degrees – or until the vegetables are soft but still keeping their shape.
Savoury crumble topping with fennel seeds, cracked green pepper and shaved parmesan
Meanwhile, make the crumble – by rubbing together the 120g flour, 1/2 tsp crushed fennel seeds, 1/4 tsp cracked green pepper (optional), 40g oats and 90g butter. Gently fork in the shaved parmesan.
Before covering the baked vegetables with the crumble, remove the garlic cloves from their casings. Press with a fork, and they should pop out. Crush them back into the vegetables. Add a handful of walnuts, the cubed feta and 2 cups of stock. The stock should cover the vegetables; add more if necessary. Add more feta, a little cream, or a roux mixed in with the stock if you want a thicker, more decadent sauce. Salt accordingly and cover with the crumble. Bake until golden.
Serve on its own, with a peppery green salad or as a side dish.
Celeriac and Fennel Crumble
- 1 lemon – juice and zest
- 1 medium celeriac
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into thick juliennes
- 1 large fennel bulb – sliced
- 4 cloves garlic – trimmed at the thicker end
- 100 g feta cut into cubes
- 30 g walnuts optional
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 cups stock of your choice – hot (brought to the boil)
- 80 ml cream optional
- salt and fresh ground pepper
- 120 g all purpose flour
- 40 g rolled oats
- 90 g butter
- ½ tsp crushed fennel seeds
- pinch crushed green peppercorns
- pinch salt
- 30 g shaved parmesan
- Preheat the oven to 180°c.
- Juice and zest the lemon into the baking dish.
- Peel and cube the celeriac and toss it into the lemon juice.
- Add the carrots, chopped fennel, garlic cloves, walnuts, salt, pepper and oregano. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until soft.
- While the vegetables are in the oven, make the crumble and heat the stock.
- Remove the roasting veg from the oven, pinch the garlic cloves from their casings, and squish them back into the baking dish, pouring over 2 cups of hot stock* (see notes). Check for seasoning. Whisk in the cream if using. The stock should cover the vegetables – add more if necessary.
- Rub the butter into the flour and oats. Mix in the fennel seeds, pepper and a generous pinch of salt. Fork in the parmesan – try not to break it up too much.
- Cover the roasted vegetables with the crumble and bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.