Last Saturday night, Sam and I did something unusual: We went downtown for dinner. Even weirder: We ate at what might constitute as a chain restaurant. I won’t name names, but know that it was a super loud, super trendy wine bar that served the kind of gussied up comfort food that sort of made you feel like you were stepping into Guy Fieri’s man cave.
It was the fall menu that pulled me in. I’d read a few good things about the small plates and was really excited about trying the acorn squash wedge salad, chanterelle ravioli with dried cherries, quinoa risotto with sweet potatoes, and most importantly, the Brussels sprouts gratin.
Here’s the short of what happened: The place was super packed because Formula 1 was in town. When we were seated, I excitedly opened the menu and the fall dishes were nowhere to be found. Apparently they were doing a “limited” menu for the busy weekend. No fall specials—except! the Brussels sprouts gratin, which I ordered right away.
And it was SO good. It was only mildly creamy and had this fireplace earthiness from lots of smoked Gouda. And the buttery breadcrumbs on top. We ordered a few other things too, but the gratin was the only thing I cared about.
I knew I had to recreate it at home. And after a few tries, Sam and I agreed the bubbly skillet I pulled out of the oven was spot on. We ate it on Tuesday night, again on Thanksgiving, and again for dinner last night, and there’s still some left (but probably not for long). With a hunk of bread to sop up the extra cheese, it’s a meal—make it.
Brussels Sprouts Gratin with Smoked Gouda
I like the ease and presentation of making this with a cast iron skillet, but you don’t need one. You can place the Brussels sprouts in a greased, 9-inch baking dish, make the sauce in a separate pot, and pour it over top.
2 pounds Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 heaping cup shredded smoked Gouda
3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper, to taste.
1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
2. In a large stockpot, boil the Brussels sprouts for 1 to 2 minutes, or until bright green. You want to cook them just enough to take the rawness out. Drain and run under cold water until cool enough to touch. Trim the ends off the sprouts and slice the sprouts into quarters (or halves, if they’re very small).
3. In a 9- or 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt a tablespoon of the butter. Add the flour and cook until it just begins to brown, about a minute. Whisk in the vegetable stock and cook about a minute, then add the garlic and the cheese, stirring to incorporate Dial down the heat to low and cook another minute or two until the cheese melts and the sauce begins to thicken. Taste and add a pinch of salt if necessary (depending on your stock and cheese, you might not need it). Take the skillet off the stovetop.
4. Add the Brussels sprouts to the skillet, spreading in an even layer. Scatter the breadcrumbs over top and dot with the remaining tablespoon of butter.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are just beginning to brown. Broil on high for 2 or 3 minutes until breadcrumbs are golden. Serve hot.