For this great Thanksgiving side dish, Brussels sprouts are nestled in a cheese sauce that bubbles brown when baked. Even the kids will love ’em.
Even the hardiest Brussels sprouts haters will like this dish–they’re covered in cheese sauce! Nutty, buttery Gruyère is a perfect companion for them and this dish is a great side for chicken, pork, or roasted meats. If you have it, whisk a pinch of grated nutmeg into the milk to add a bit of warm spice and richness to the sauce.–Claire Robinson
LC When Gooey Isn’t Quite Good Enough Note
We can’t complain about an enticingly gooey gratin that not only gets everyone to eat their Brussels sprouts but comes together with just five or so ingredients. Yet sometimes, though, we crave something that’s more than just gooey, something that’s a little crispy, crunchy, or crumbly, too. That’s when we start playing a little loose and fancy free with this dish, at least in our imagination. Like maybe strewing some buttery breadcrumbs or crumbled bacon atop its cheesy goodness. We don’t think it would suffer from this. No, not at all.
Five Ingredient Fix
- 2 pints Brussels sprouts trimmed
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk at room temperature
- 5 ounces (about 1 cup) Gruyère cheese grated
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
- Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water. Steam or boil the Brussels sprouts until bright green and beginning to soften but not mushy, 3 to 5 minutes, depending on their size. Drop the sprouts into the ice water to stop the cooking, then drain and pat them dry. (You can set the sprouts aside for up to several hours before continuing with the recipe.)
- Melt the butter and flour in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until smooth and bubbling, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly, slowly stir in the milk. Continue to cook, whisking frequently, until thick and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of the cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and season the sauce well with salt and heavily with pepper.
- Halve the sprouts through the core or, if they’re large, quarter them. Place the sprouts in an even layer in a 2-quart baking dish, pour the sauce evenly over the top, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake until golden and bubbling on top, 10 to 15 minutes. If the cheese doesn’t turn quite golden enough, run the gratin under the broiler for a few seconds. Serve hot, hot, hot.
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Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This recipe is a winner! Wish I had tried it for our Canadian Thanksgiving. Oh well, there’s always Christmas. I followed the recipe exactly as written, adding the pinch of freshly grated nutmeg as suggested. So delicious! I ran the finished dish under the broiler before serving to get the top golden brown. Otherwise, it would have stayed in the oven too long, and perhaps become mushy. The only thing I would do differently next time is to steam the brussels sprouts rather than boiling them, to keep more of the nutrients in the sprouts. I love the fact that you can start this recipe ahead of time, preparing the sprouts now, and finishing with the cheese sauce just before serving.
Side dishes sometimes come as an afterthought to the main dish, and in autumn, it’s easy to fall back on the tried and true roasted vegetable (which is certainly delicious). This recipe is a perfect way to jazz up your repertoire of side dishes, and its easy, inexpensive, and takes little time to prepare (so you can, if you so desire, focus on perfecting your roast with your spare time). The sprouts cook quickly, so make sure you are watching them after dropping them in the boiling water. You also want to make sure your cheese is already grated and set aside prior to beginning the sauce, so that you do not waste any time or have to scramble to mix in the cheese. I added freshly ground nutmeg to the cheese sauce, which was delicious. If you do not have Gruyère, I made this dish one time with gouda which also worked very well.
“I could eat this again,” said the man who would eat only half of a brussels sprout once a year at Thanksgiving dinner, just to be polite to the cook (me). And he said it after eating oh, three or four sprouts, smothered with the creamy Gruyère sauce. I don’t even have keep writing at this point, since you probably have some idea that the gratin was delicious and I’ll be making it again. The white sauce is a cinch to make and is versatile, and would be wonderful on other blanched, often underappreciated vegetables, such as cauliflower and asparagus.
This Brussels Sprout Gratin recipe was delicious. It was decadent, rich, and indulgent, and worth the splurge of cream and cheese. The flavor of the sauce was nutty, with a hint of sweetness. It was cozy, warm and comforting; the Gruyère was an excellent cheese to contrast with the earthy flavors of the Brussels sprouts. This is a fabulous dish to add to your holiday dinner or to have as a dinner on a cold, stormy evening. The white sauce took longer than two to three minutes to thicken; it was more like six minutes.
We love brussels sprouts, but even if you don’t or have others around who aren’t crazy about them, they may like this. What’s not to like? Creamy, cheesy goodness with delicious fall sprouts. The instructions are excellent, and following them — especially in cooking the vegetables — will result in deliciousness. Be careful when adding the sauce to the sprouts. I found it to be a bit too much sauce for our taste, as it is very rich. The vegetables can handle some competition, but don’t drown them if you can help it.
An easy, accurate recipe that yields simple but profound pleasure. The Gruyère and brussels sprouts provide a one-two punch that will render you powerless in the face of their awesome powers. More simply put, this is freakin’ delicious. I would boil the sprouts for less time, because they start to become a bit mushy if you go as long as directed. I would even go so far as to say that this recipe would be even better if the sprouts were partially roasted in advance of being cooked in the gratin. I think they’d have better texture, and that the cheese and milk would meld more completely with them.
This very easy recipe would make a great side dish for Thanksgiving dinner. The rich, creamy sauce complements the brussels sprouts perfectly. I could see substituting other vegetables in this recipe, like broccoli or asparagus, for an equally satisfying dish, and maybe adding some toasted breadcrumbs for a bit of crunch.
This recipe comes together pretty quickly, especially if you’re already comfortable with making a white sauce. I usually avoid boiling my brussels sprouts, but went ahead and did it for this recipe and despite myself really liked the final dish. The cheese sauce soaks up any leftover water (still, drain and dry the sprouts well) and the methods involved make this a perfect dish for big family dinners. I did add some freshly ground nutmeg, since I almost always add it to cream sauces and cooked greens, and I went really heavy with the black pepper. I would consider quartering the sprouts next time to better mix the sauce/cheese with the sprouts, and would maybe increase the sprout-to-sauce ratio, but I’m a huge brussels sprouts fan. I will make this dish for Thanksgiving dinner.
Originally published November 15, 2017
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
What do you say when publicly professed Brussels Sprouts Haters exclaim: “These are the best brussels sprouts I have ever eaten. I love them”? You say, “This is a winner!” And when the dish is emptied by someone sneaking the remaining few home with her, you know you are on to a winner.
This recipe is easy, short, to the point and into the oven, so you can straighten up the kitchen a bit before dinner is served. And as you do, I dare you to not lick the spoons, and the pan!
The sprouts still have that unique peppery taste of their own, but it is smoothed out and polished up a bit with the cream sauce and the Gruyère. All in all, a dish to add to your list for Thanksgiving — and any other holiday where you need your star quarterback and a good front line!