I’ve yet to meet a gratin I didn’t want to marry. Comfortable unpretentiousness, warm and welcoming, and so flexible. It can be a stand-alone dish, needing only a salad to round it out, or be one of many side dishes on a Thanksgiving table. It can be healthy or not-so-much, and accommodate almost any vegetable or fish.
Cooking something au gratin means to bake it with a crust made of shavings of cheese and/or breadcrumbs. The word stems from a French word (yes, this dish is from the clever French who know a thing or two about food) which means to scrape or grate. The dish is always cooked in a shallow baking pan that it’s ultimately served in, and often finished under the broiler to get the crust nice and, well, crusty.
I was raised on potato gratins, so I always thought a gratin had to have cream and cheese in it. Not true. Neither are required if the recipe involves a breadcrumb upper crust. Fun factoid, the term le gratin signifies the “upper crust” of Parisian society, or so Wikipedia informs me.
Gratins are perfect for leftover vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, spinach greens, and potatoes, or pasta – particularly vegetables that have some bitterness. And they’re ideal for a casual dinner party since they can be cooked ahead and just warmed up as guests arrive.
This one for Brussels sprouts was modeled from this contest winner on Food52, created by a woman who uses the moniker hardlikearmour. I took some liberties with it, since that’s what I do, and made it a few times before I landed on a flavor balance that worked for us. Hope you like it too!
Brussels Sprouts Gratin with Quinoa
- 5 slices of bacon (optional)
- 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, hard stem bottoms trimmed
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup (the good stuff, Grade B, please)
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (more of the good stuff)
- 1 1/2 cups Panko style bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350º F.
Fry up the bacon in a large skillet and drain on a paper towel, reserving 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease.
Thinly slice the Brussels sprouts using the slicing disc of a food processor. You can also use a mandoline or slice them by hand, but it will take much longer, and the slices are unlikely to be as thin and evenly sliced as with the food processor. Dump into a large bowl and add the cranberries and cooked quinoa.
Heat up 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease, and add the broth, whipping cream, mustard, maple syrup, celery salt, kosher salt and pepper. Whisk and heat just until starting to simmer. Add in half of the shredded Brussels sprouts and carefully turn to coat using tongs. Sauté for 5 minutes and return to the bowl with the remaining Brussels sprouts. Toss thoroughly and scrape the mixture to a shallow baking pan (I used a 9" X 11" pan). Spread in an even layer.
Stir the melted butter and maple syrup together in a small bowl. Place the bread crumbs, pine nuts, and salt in a small bowl and toss with the melted butter and maple syrup until the crumbs are well-coated . Spread evenly over the Brussels sprouts.
Bake the gratin until the topping is golden brown. This should take about 45 minutes at sea level and 1 hour at high altitude (6000-7000 feet). Rotate the pan half-way through to promote an even browning.
I've made this with and without bacon, and my family prefers it with. But please feel free to substitute vegan "bacon pieces" or eliminate altogether. Use 2 tablespoons butter in place of the bacon grease for mixing with the broth, whipping cream, maple syrup, etc.
We’re getting ready for Thanksgiving over at SundaySupper, and are all making casseroles that will be your best friend at breakfast as well as at dinner. I just want to start at the top and work my way down the list and make them all. Many thanks to Em for hosting us this week!
Holiday Casserole Recipes #SundaySupper
- Apple Crumble French Toast Casserole by Pies and Plots
- Holiday Breakfast Casserole by The Freshman Cook
- Sausage Breakfast Casserole with Crescent Rolls by Sunday Supper Movement
- Christmas Chilaquiles with Eggs by Our Good Life
- Buttery Baked Bread Dressing by Food Lust People Love
- Collard Greens Au Gratin by Soulfully Made
- French Potato Gratin by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Ham & Cheese Corn Casserole (Spoon Bread) by Palatable Pastime
- Leftover Turkey Noodle Casserole by Crickets Confections
- Lower Carb Green Bean Casserole by Positively Stacey
- Simple Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole (Dairy-Free) by Bites of Wellness
- Turkey and Noodles by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Brussels Sprouts Gratin with Quinoa by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Cheesy Orzo Pasta Bake by Caroline’s Cooking
- Mexican Cornbread Casserole by Restless Chipotle
- Shrimp Pineapple Rice Casserole by Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
- Make Ahead Spaghetti Western Chili Casserole by Kudos Kitchen by Renee
The Sunday Supper Movement is committed to bringing our readers delicious recipes that encourage them to gather and eat together around the family table. Search for your favorite ingredients on our Sunday Supper website. Also check out the Sunday Supper Pinterest boards for plenty more ideas and inspiration.