Brussels Sprouts Gratin
(English roasted Brussels sprouts with cheese sauce)
Brussels sprouts get a bad rap. Undercooked they can be bitter. Overcooked they turn into nasty mush. But if you cook them just right they have a tender, nutty sweetness that will make you a convert.
This recipe pairs Brussels sprouts with a delicious cheese sauce in an easy-to-prepare dish.
6 to 8 servings
- Brussels sprouts, trimmed -- 2 pounds
- Butter -- 2 tablespoons
- Flour -- 3 tablespoons
- Milk, cream or half-and-half -- 2 1/2 cups
- Grated sharp Cheddar cheese -- 1 1/2 cups
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Breadcrumbs -- 1/2 cup
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Steam the Brussels sprouts or boil them in salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, or until a sharp knife can just pierce them. Drain and rinse briefly with cool water. Drain again and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium flame. Stir the flour into the butter and let it cook and bubble for about 1 minute.
- Whisk in the milk, cream or half-and-half all at once, stirring to remove all lumps. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for another 3 or 4 minutes. Remove the sauce from heat and stir in 1 cup of the grated cheese. Adjust seasoning to your taste with salt and pepper.
- Butter or grease a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish and sprinkle the bottomwith a bit of the breadcrumbs. Add the Brussels sprouts to the dish, and pour the cheese sauce evenly over them. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs evenly over the top.
- Set in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the dish is heated through and the top is lightly browned.
Brussels Sprouts Gratin Variations
- For more complex flavor, try roasting the Brussels sprouts instead of steaming or boiling them. Just toss the sprouts with a little oil and roast them in a single layer on a baking sheet at 400°F. It should take about 30 to 45 minutes to cook them to the right point.
- Use a good British farmhouse Cheddar for knock-your-socks-off results. Or you can try using different cheeses like Parmesan or Stilton blue cheese. Or experiment with a mixture of cheeses. Stronger cheeses may not need the whole 1 1/2 cups called for in the recipe.
- Add a touch of sherry to the cheese sauce if you like.
- Sprinkle the top of the casserole with chopped hazelnuts or walnuts before placing it in the oven.