Editor’s note: With the holidays approaching, we’re pulling this one out of the archives. It’s perfect for Thanksgiving and family gatherings. This recipe first ran in 2016.
Being a Brussels sprouts fan, I find there is nothing the little cruciferous bites of wonder cannot cure.
While a popular holiday dish, I’m always good with the little, green cabbage-headed sprouts regardless of time of year. It does seem, though, that the holidays are when they appear on our tables most often in an array of presentations. Whether sauteed with bacon and garlic, roasted with olive oil and sea salt, or freshly steamed with a dollop of butter, they are a staple at our holiday tables.
I stumbled upon this gratin recipe last year, and in a short time it has become a favorite in my house. One of my favorite things about it is how versatile it is when it comes to swapping some of the basic ingredients. Don’t care for shallots? Use a large leek. Have some cheese in your fridge you need to use? Feel free to substitute the Gruyere with a cheese of your choice. A sharp Cheddar works great in this dish, and I’ve even used a combination of Gruyere, Parmesan and Romano cheeses. Feel free to get creative and use pancetta rather than bacon. The ingredients are pretty forgiving and allow for you to easily customize the gratin to your family’s tastes.
A note, though, on blanching the sprouts: Do not over do it. Blanch the sprouts until just barely tender as they will finish cooking in the oven.
Brussels Sprouts Gratin with Bacon and Gruyere
Makes 6 to 8 servings
2 pounds small, tender Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
4 ounces thick sliced bacon, chopped
3 large shallots, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1½ cups milk
1 packed cup shredded Gruyere cheese (about 6 ounces)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Bring a large saucepan half filled with salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Blanch the sprouts until just tender, 3 to 7 minutes (depending on the freshness and size of the sprouts). Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.
In a large heatproof frying pan over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels and add the shallots. Fry until tender, stirring, about 5 minutes.
Drain off all but 2 tablespoons fat and add the bacon and butter to the pan. If you don’t have 2 tablespoons of bacon fat, use 2 tablespoons butter.
Sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook, stirring with a whisk, until smooth. Slowly add the chicken broth, then the milk, while whisking, until thickened and smooth over medium heat, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the cheese and stir until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the Brussels sprouts to the sauce and stir to combine. Spread into an even later into a prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 30 minutes. If you like, pop it under the broiler to brown the top a bit more.
Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
— Adapted from Bay Area Bites, ww2.kqed.org/bayareabites.
Contact Features Editor Gary Black at 459-7504 or at twitter.com/FDNMfeatures.