Elements of Food

Brussels Sprouts Gratin with Bacon

I love Brussels Sprouts and I don’t need them to be covered in a cheese sauce to entice me…I am, however, certainly not opposed to it! As a side to my lemon, thyme and garlic roasted pork tenderloin, I served these delectable little sprouts and we just loved them…It’s hard to beat the cheesey, gooey goodness and the tender, crunchy little sprouts. The sprouts roast in the oven for about 30 minutes and you would think after this long they would be soft…but they remained crunchy and delicious and the sauce soaked into all the leaf layers of the sprouts. These didn’t last long…

brussels sprouts gratin

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of Brussels Sprouts, outer leaves taken off and cut in half
  • 1 Tablespoon of butter
  • 1 Tablespoon of flour
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan or Gruyere cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons of light mayonnaise
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • Freshly Ground Pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

In a medium sauce pan, bring water to a boil and add in the sprouts. Blanch for one minute, they should turn bright green. Do not “cook” the sprouts, you do not want them to be soft.

Remove the sprouts from the water, place in a bowl and set aside.

In the same sauce pan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Stir until blended. Do not let the flour burn. Add in the milk, mayo, cheese, bacon and pepper. Whisk until the cheese is melted and all ingredients are combined.

Combine the sprouts and the cheese sauce and mix until combined. Place the mixture into a baking dish and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the sprouts are tender. During the last 5 minutes of baking, add additional cheese on top and allow to brown slightly in the oven.

Elements of Home

French Onion Soup Gratinee

On a trip to Paris a few years ago, I had the most amazing french onion soup at Le Grand Colbert. I was in heaven. The perfect ambiance and the incredible soup topped with bubbling Gruyere cheese. Amazing. Ever since then, I was hooked. I’ve tried making it a few times. I’ve tried everything from Julia Childs’ recipe, to mix and match concoctions trying to find the perfect balance of ingredients and flavors. I finally settled on the recipe below and my husband gave me the mother of all compliments saying it we no longer need to go to out dinner to find great French onion soup! The key to fabulous french onion soup is perfectly caramelized onions, not too much salt and perfectly hardened french baguette slices for the gratinee…and a really good Gruyere cheese. But, you can use regular Swiss if you’re not keen on spending 20 dollars on cheese. Oh, and good news! I got a new camera for my birthday yesterday! So, no more iPhone photos 🙂

Ingredients

  • 4 thinly sliced onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 Tablespoons of butter
  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 Cup of white wine
  • 6-7 cups of Beef Broth or a mixture of Beef and Chicken Broth if you prefer a lighter soup
  • Fresh Thyme springs (3-4)
  • 4 Bay Leaves
  • Salt and Pepper
  • French baguette sliced into 3/4 inch rounds
  • Gruyere cheese or Swiss, shredded. I won’t tell you how much to shred…because personally, I’d tell you to shred the whole block:) But you can put as much or as little as you want.
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded

Directions

  1. In a large dutch oven, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, fresh thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Cook on medium/low heat for 45 minutes or until onions are golden brown and caramelized. Do not stir often, or the onions won’t caramelize. Caramelizing the onions before hand gives your soup incredible flavor. It’s a slow process, but worth every minute.
  2. Once the onions are caramelized, add in the white wine. simmer until the wine is absorbed into the onions.
  3. Remove the bay leaves and Thyme sprigs.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees for the baguette
  5. Add the broth, and simmer on low for 30-45 minutes to incorporate the flavors.
  6. Cut the baguette into 3/4 inch round slices and arrange on a cookie sheet. bake until toasted, but not too brown.
  7. Preheat the broiler.
  8. Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls. Float 3-4 slices of baguette in each bowl and top with as much Gruyere and Parmesan cheese as you want.
  9. Place bowls on a cookie sheet and put under the broiler for 4-5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.
  10. Add salt and pepper as desired.

Enjoy!

french onion soup gratinee