Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Brussels Sprouts au Gratin

Please don't be lead astray by the photo, which is admittedly humdrum. It is so very hard to photograph things at this time of year, when it gets dark so very early. This was amazing. Truly. It may have been our slightly bohemian homegrown Brussels sprouts, although I didn't treat them kindly - they spent 4 days sitting on the laundry room floor before I got around to removing them from the stems and cooking them so I didn't have high hopes for them. But even with regular commercial sprouts I can't see this being anything less than marvelous.

I'm considering a variation where I omit the butter and cheese from the crumbs, and replace them with very, very finely chopped raw bacon, just a little on the fatty side. That could be good too. I will have to find out. Hard to imagine it being better though.

6 servings - maybe
50 minutes - 30 minutes prep time

Brussels Sprouts au Gratin
1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

500 grams (1 pound) Brussels sprouts
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup light (5% or 10%) cream

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare the bread crumbs, by grating stalish bread, and grate the Parmesan cheese finely. Rub the tablespoon of butter into the crumbs, and mix in the Parmesan. Set aside.

Wash and trim the Brussels sprouts, and cut them in rough slices. Put the chicken stock in a large pot, and bring it to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until just bright green, about 4 minutes. Stir once in the middle.

Meanwhile, rub the remaining butter, flour, salt, and pepper together. When the sprouts have finished their parboiling, drop the glob of butter and flour into the pot, and stir thoroughly to distribute it throughout. Add the cream, and continue to stir until the mixture thickens and coats the Brussels sprouts.

Turn the mixture out into a medium-sized shallow casserole dish and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until nicely browned and bubbly. Oh man.

Last year at this time I made Beans & Kale with Tomatoes.

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