The holiday season is upon us, and I couldn't be more excited. In our house, the festivities officially kick off with Thanksgiving, which is my favorite meal of the year. And while the turkey is the star of the Thanksgiving table, it's all those delicious side dishes, like this Brussels Sprouts au Gratin that my family really looks forward to most. Yes, even my kids!
This recipe for Brussels Sprouts au Gratin or Brussels Sprout Casserole takes the best parts of all our beloved and traditional holiday sides and combines them into one fantastic dish. The pairing of Brussels sprouts, bacon and all that wonderful creamy, cheesy au gratin goodness has become a true family favorite. Served with every one of our holiday meals, even the most finicky eaters love it!
Why You'll Become a Brussels Sprouts au Gratin Lover
These mini cabbages are not just cute but good for you, too. Brussels Sprouts are low in carbs and pack a ton of fiber! It is one of the few vegetables that burn calories just by digesting it! So technically all of the butter and cream in this recipe is negated by the fact that the bulk of this casserole is made with Brussels Sprouts, right? Ok, don't quote me on that!
How to Cook Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are also quite versatile and can be prepared with a variety of cooking methods, such as roasting, steaming, or sauté. When adding them into a casserole you can use either fresh or frozen Brussels sprouts.
I always like to give them a quick dip in boiling water to get the cooking process started. Simply cut off the stem ends of the Brussels sprouts and remove any yellowing outer leaves. Cut each Brussels sprout in half from top to bottom. Place the Brussels sprouts in a pot of boiling water with a ½ teaspoon of salt, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. If using in this Brussels Sprouts au Gratin recipe, strain the boiling water and transfer Brussels sprouts to a large bowl of ice water. This will keep the vegetables nice and green.
The addition of caramelized shallots gives this dish a great depth of flavor. I love cooking with shallots. A type of onion, shallots generally have a milder flavor with just a little hint of garlic. When caramelized, they develop a sweet and earthy quality that pairs perfectly with the Brussels sprouts and bacon.
Caramelizing Onion Quick Tip
- Add a teaspoon of brown sugar to the onions to help speed up the caramelizing process. Don't worry, you won't taste it in the final product.
What Does the Term au Gratin Mean?
The term au Gratin describes something that is topped with grated cheese (or breadcrumbs) and browned. And in my opinion, cheese just makes everything taste better!
Using Gruyere cheese in this Brussels Sprouts au Gratin adds a nutty, salty flavor and extra rich creaminess that is simply delicious. But essentially this au gratin is a fancy term for casserole. Whatever you call it, it's divine, I promise! You can make this brussles sprout casserole in a large cast-iron skillet or a standard 9x13 inch baking dish.
More Delectable Holiday Dishes
Looking for more great dishes to serve this holiday season? Try my Apple Thyme Roasted Turkey, Creamed Corn Cornbread Casserole, Gruyere Scalloped Potatoes, and this amazing Sweet Potato Pie with Marshmallow Topping.
This family favorite dish is served with every one of our holiday meals. Even the Brussels Sprouts haters love it!
- 2 lb. brussels sprouts trimmed and halved lengthwise
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ pound bacon cooked and chopped
- 8 shallots thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 16 oz. Gruyère cheese grated
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
Fill a large pot of water ½ full. Set over medium-high heat and add the brussels sprouts and salt.
Cover and bring pot to a boil. Once boiling remove from heat and strain. Set Brussels Sprouts aside.
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven or large pan over medium-high heat until crisp.
Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan; set bacon aside and chop coarsely once cooled.
Return pan to medium-low heat. Add sliced shallots and sugar to drippings in pan; cook shallots until caramelized, about 15-20 minutes, stirring often.
Meanwhile, prepare the casserole.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13 inch baking pan or a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray.
Add cubed butter to the bottom of the pan. Spread ½ of the brussels sprouts over the butter. Continue layering with ½ of the of the bacon and ½ of the Gruyere cheese. Add next layer of brussels sprouts and bacon.
Top final layer with caramelized shallots.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and remaining cheese.
Slowly pour heavy cream over entire casserole.
Cover lightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes.