• Vegetable
  • Main Dish

Brussels Sprouts au Gratin:
Or, Boiled Veg Are Gross

  • by the Old White Hippie
  • 1 hour total
  • Actual Cooking

I've only done this one a couple of times. This round, I left out the cornstarch partly because my wife is on a keto diet and can't have it, and partly because the last time I made this, so much of the liquid cooked off in the "simmer" phase that I felt it was superfluous. The cream reduces just fine on its own, thank you, and Brussels sprouts don't cook out as much water as you might expect.

My mother only knew one way to fix Brussels sprouts. She boiled them until they were pale, like tiny cabbages, with black pepper, drained them and that was it. I have a dislike of black pepper, and these things were bitter and gross on their own. Later, she learned about stir frying, and hibachi cooking, and veg got lightly steamed, or quick fried in a wok, and tasted much better. But I didn't have Brussels sprouts that I liked until my eldest daughter made sauteed Brussels sprouts at Thanksgiving one year, and they were magnificent. Since then, I've found a few more ways to cook'em, and I'm sure you will too.

I'm an Old White Hippie. This is my kitchen. Not sure I'm feelin' it tonight.

    4 as a main
    15 minutes
  • Cook TIME
    45 minutes

  • 10 oz bacon, chopped
  • 2 lbs Brussels sprouts, stemmed, washed, halved
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp corn starch in 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan

Ingredients marshalled. Turkey bacon, mozzarella, Brussels sprouts, parmesan, butter, minced garlic, heavy cream. Stop looking for the cornstarch, it's not in this picture.

Stem, halve, and wash the Brussels sprouts. Here's the finished product in a shiny metal colander.

Chop the bacon. The original recipe called for pork bacon. I can't eat pork, weird dietary sensitivity, don't ask, it's a long story. I'm using turkey bacon here and that's as much as you need to know.

I've set the oven for 450F and moved the upper rack to the third slot, so that hopefully the cheese will brown. I have no experience yet using this oven as a broiler.

Fry up the bacon. Set it aside, throw in the butter, and fry the Brussels sprouts until the edges char. I found I needed more butter, as I did not have the residual fat in the skillet you would expect from pork bacon.

Add the garlic and stir fry to awaken it. I may have used an iced tea spoon and eyeballed it here. The minced garlic supply is getting low.

Reduce the heat. No. More than that. Add the cream and the bacon, and stir well. Keep stirring frequently as the heat fades and the mixture comes up to a simmer. It's really easy to scorch at this point. This is where you would also add the cornstarch if you really strongly felt the need for it. The cream reduces quite well on its own, thanks.

Once it's cooked down enough, top with the cheeses, and pop it into the oven to melt and (hopefully) brown them.

And here we have the finished product. This fed three people as a one-skillet dinner, with leftovers enough for two more healthy portions. I'm expecting the spouse to eat one when she gets in, as she did ask us to save her some. The other will be someone's lunch in the next day or two. Mine, if the kids don't move fast enough.