Brussels Sprouts Gratin

I was shocked. Brussels sprouts were the surprise hit of Thanksgiving dinner.

Brussels sprouts are controversial in my wife’s family – none of her siblings will eat them. But, there they were, reaching for seconds. After dinner, everyone wanted the recipe, so here it is.
The requests all started: “I don’t like Brussels sprouts, but…”

I have to admit to being lucky – I almost skipped Brussels sprouts, knowing how unpopular they are with my in-laws. I was looking for a make ahead side dish when I saw Kenji Alt’s Over the Top Creamy Brussels Sprouts Gratin. It looked too good to pass up. (I figured, if they don’t eat them, great! More sprouts for me.) I followed Kenji’s basic idea, but left out the bacon, because some of my guests are vegetarian.

Now, you may be thinking: Brussels sprouts? Vegetarian? What, are you serving health food? Um…no. These are rich, decadent sprouts, bathed in heavy cream and covered with cheese.

Recipe: Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Adapted From: Over The Top Creamy Brussels Sprouts Gratin, Kenji Alt, SeriousEats.com

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus more for the baking dish.
  • 1.5 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 ounces shredded Fontina cheese (or an Italian shredded cheese blend)

Directions

1. Saute the Brussels sprouts and reduce the cream

Turn the oven to 425°F. Melt the butter in a large fry pan over medium-high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and sprinkle with salt. Saute the Brussels sprouts, stirring often, until the sprouts are browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Pour the cream into the pan and simmer, occasionally scraping the bottom of the pan, until the cream thickens and the bubbles start stacking up on themselves, about 5 more minutes.

2. Prep the baking dish

Butter the inside of the baking dish. Pour the sprouts and cream into the baking dish, and sprinkle with the shredded cheese.

3. Bake and broil the gratin

Put the baking dish into the oven and bake until it is bubbling and the cheese is melted and browning, about 15 minutes.

Notes

  • Make ahead – finish through step 2, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When you need the dish, remove the plastic wrap and continue with step 3. (Assume it will take an extra five to ten minutes to come up to heat in the oven.)
  • Double the recipe – if you’re cooking for a crowd, double the recipe, saute the sprouts in a dutch oven, and pour them into a 3 quart baking dish.
  • Kenji recommends Emmental cheese, the traditional French gratin cheese. I can’t find a source with reasonable prices in my area – it costs close to $20 a pound – so I substituted a blend of shredded Italian cheese that includes Fontina and Asiago.
  • Want bacon? Halve the amount of butter in the recipe, and add a quarter pound of bacon cut into into thin strips. In the first step, instead of melting the butter, cook the bacon until it is nice and crispy. Remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving as much fat behind in the pan as possible. Melt the butter in the bacon fat and continue with the recipe, stirring the bacon back in right before pouring the sprouts into the baking dish.

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

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