Brussels Sprout Gratin With Bacon And Rosemary

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One of my favourite things in the world is the good old Brussels Sprout, I eat them in everything from salads to gratins and sometimes just thrown on the BBQ covered in oil and salt, you either love them or you hate them and I love them!!! I think most of the haters were put off this magical vegetable from your childhood days, because your Granny cooked them to death until they were wet and soggy. Al dente obviously had a different meaning in those days. Believe me blitzed raw, as a base of a salad or coleslaw, they are fantastic. I am cooking a slow cooked shoulder of lamb for Sunday Dinner and thought this Brussel Sprout Gratin would work perfectly with the addition of Rosemary.  You could put any of your favourite herbs into this dish and it will work just as well, if you’re having beef, grate some fresh horseradish into the cheese sauce and voila, a perfect beef accompaniment.  When selecting your Cheddar cheese, please buy the best you can afford, as really great Aged Clothbound Cheddars have a far superior flavour to mass produced cheddars and also don’t melt away to nothing, as some of the cheaper processed cheeses do.

INGREDIENTS

1 Kilo brussels sprouts, trimmed of outer leaves and sliced in half
Salt
100g streaky bacon, diced
1 Tbsp butter
3 shallots, peeled, halved, and sliced
2 Tbsp plain flour
2 cups whole milk
1 Tsp Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tbs Finley chopped rosemary
200g of grated mature cheddar cheese, plus a bit extra for topping

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1 Heat a large pot of salted water, 2 litres of water, 1 Tbsp salt. Blanch the halved brussels sprouts for 3 to 4 minutes, until just barely tender. Remove from pot, drain, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, set aside.

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2 Place diced bacon in a large saucepan on medium low heat. Cook until most of the fat is rendered, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan, set aside, leaving the rendered fat in the pan.

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3 Add butter to the saucepan and melt on medium heat. Add the shallots and gently cook until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour to the butter shallot mixture to make a roux, whisk for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the milk and stir with a wooden spoon until the roux is incorporated into the milk. Cook over medium low heat for several minutes, stirring, until the sauce thickens and coats the back of your spoon. Add fresh rosemary .
4 Add 200g of grated Cheddar cheese into the white sauce and stir until the cheese is melted and incorporated into the sauce. Add half of the cooked bacon back to the sauce. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

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5 Preheat oven to 190°c. Butter an 8″x12″ gratin dish or casserole . Add the brussels sprouts to the casserole dish and pour over the cheese sauce the cheese sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining bacon and some extra cheddar cheese. Bake for 25 minutes until top is lightly browned and bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

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