Roots A la Crème

Take some large roots scraped and washed; boil them half an hour; cut them into a stew pan, with a bit of butter, a bunch of Parsley, scallions, a clove of garlic, two shallots, two cloves, and some basil; turn them a few times over the fire, and put in a little flower, salt and whole pepper, with some good broth; let them boil and reduce to a thick sauce; then take out the bunch of herbs and add the yolks of three eggs beat, and some cream. Thicken it over the fire, taking care that it does not boil, and, before it is used, add a little vinegar.

From Menon, The French Family Cook, 1746

Roots A La Crème (modern)

  • 1 large of each root vegetable: turnip, parsnip, potato, carrot washed and chopped into cubes
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • Pinch of clove
  • ¼ teaspoon basil
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ cups broth
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ cup cream
  • Splash of white wine vinegar

Fill a large pot with water and a pinch of salt and boil the vegetables for about 15 minutes. In a large stew pan over medium high heat, put butter, parsley, scallions, garlic, shallot, cloves and basil and lightly brown the root vegetables. Once brown, coat with flour and add the broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil until the broth thickens. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and cream together. When the vegetables are ready, pour a spoonful of the hot broth slowly into the eggs as you whisk (this prevents the eggs from curdling when introduced to the hot broth), then slowly add the egg mixture to the hot broth while stirring. Reduce the heat to medium and while stirring cook until the mixture becomes thick. Once thickened, remove from heat, place in a serving bowl, and give it a splash of vinegar.

This project was developed through a Teaching American History Grant partnership between Anne Arundel County Public Schools, the Center for History Education at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and Historic London Town and Gardens.