I hate Brussels sprouts. I think I say this every year. But everyone else seems to love them and want them on their holiday table. So this year, since I know I’ll be forced to make them (my entire family loves them), I am going all out and creating something I might actually eat. Introducing the richest, most decadent recipe involving the lowly Brussels sprout: a bacon-studded gratin bathed in Gruyère cheese sauce.
Now, don’t get me wrong. At one point in my life I liked Brussels sprouts. And then I got pregnant (at Christmas, when Every Single Restaurant in the Universe serves Brussels sprouts with Everything) and completely went off winter vegetables. (So you see, it’s not my fault that I hate them, it’s my daughter's. She, of course, likes them. Go figure.)
I’ve since recovered and love kale, chard, butternut squash, parsnips, etc. But I just can’t find the love for these little cabbage heads.
Anyway, this year I had a brainstorm. Throw them into a gratin! With bacon! And Gruyère cheese sauce!
But watch out, this incredible side dish will have you picking away nonstop at the crispy-cheesy edges until half of it is gone. I know, because I ate a ton of it.
Brussels Sprouts Gratin with Bacon and Gruyère
Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 2 lbs small, tender Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 4 oz thick sliced bacon, chopped
- 3 large shallots, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 packed cup shredded Gruyere cheese (about 6 oz)
- 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 (depends 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 tbsp fat and add the bacon and butter to the pan (if you don’t have 2 tbsp bacon fat, use 2 tbsp 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. 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. 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.