Gratin, Squash, & Brussel Sprouts

Fall Delight!

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I am truly enjoying the flavors of fall this year.  Growing up without the seasons I’m not sure I have every fully embraced or appreciated them.  I have been welcoming the cooler days and nights.  The local apples are incredible!  I also had my first cider doughnut from YaYa Farm, courtesy of a friend.  As much as I’m not a doughnut person it was quite delicious.  Root vegetables have been calling my name so I’m sure you’ll be seeing more fun recipes to come.

This meal was by no means hard to make but it did take a bit of time with the prep and cooking.  I do enjoy brussel sprouts but they are a pain to prepare.  I like to pull off a bunch of leaves from each one as they add the crisp I’m looking for.  This does take time.  My gratin includes potatoes, celeriac, fennel, and onion.  I sautéed the onion and fennel to place in between the potato/celeriac layers.  The house smelled delicious and it tasted just as good.  I used a cup of milk so no heavy cream and no extra butter beyond greasing the pyrex.  I have a microplane cheese grater which I received as a gift and have never used my box grater for cheese since.  What makes it so amazing is the grates are fine.  So you can achieve a nice layer of cheese without using the whole block.  And lastly I cooked delicata squash as we know it’s my favorite.  I just did a simple roast and then pureed it with a pat of butter and splash of maple syrup using my immersion blender.  Can we say good eats?

In the picture below you can see each fennel shape is different.  This is because there are “male” and “female” bulbs.  The female are shorter, rounder, and squatter; the male bulbs are more elongated.  Just thought I’d share this little tidbit.  I tend to buy the female as I’ve heard they are tastier, but honestly I am not sure if this is true.  The weird looking thing in the picture below is a celeriac; one of the least starchy root vegetables.  It is a celery variety refined over time to produce an increasingly large, solid, globular root just below the soil surface.  Celeriac contains no fat, minimal calories, and is a great source of fiber.  The flavor is celery like, but more mild and very creamy.

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the starts of my gratin

onion and fennel sautéing in olive oil

first layer of potato and celeriac, s&p

fennel and onion mixture on top

followed by a thin layer of cheese; repeat

milk added and baked for an hour

finished with cheese and lightly broiled

prepared brussel sprouts

sautéed in olive oil

browned, leaves crispy, and ready to serve

roasted delicatas

pureed

: )

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GRATIN

  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8″ rounds
  • 1 large celeriac, peeled and sliced into 1/8″ rounds
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 fennel bulbs, sliced
  • olive oil
  • s&p
  • butter
  • cheddar quese
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a skillet sauté the onion and fennel in olive oil until wilted and lightly browned.  Season with salt.
  3. Butter large pyrex dish.  Assemble a flat layer using the potato and celeriac; overlapping each piece.  I used 1/3 of the potato and 1/2 of the celeriac so my top layer would only be potato.  Season with s&p.  Next use half the fennel/onion mixture and make a smooth layer.  Top with a thin layer of grated cheese.
  4. Make another layer using the 1/3 of the potato and 1/2 (the rest) of the celeriac.  Season with s&p, top with the other half of the fennel onion mixture, and finish off with grated cheese.
  5. Make the top layer with the last 1/3 of the potatoes.  Season with salt.  Using a spatula press down to flatten the gratin.  Pour over 1 cup of milk and bake in the oven for 1 hour.  After the first 30 minutes remove from the oven and flatten again with a spatula.
  6. Remove from oven, top with a last layer of cheese and broil until lightly browned.
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    BRUSSEL SPROUTS
  • brussel sprouts
  • olive oil
  • salt
  1. Chop the base of the brussel sprouts and remove yellow outer leaf or two; discard base and leaves.  Next cut off a bit more of the base (discard), slice in half, and pull off as many leaves as you can.  Wash the loose leaves and centers.
  2. In a skillet heat up some olive oil.  Add the brussel sprouts and cook until the leaves are crispy and nicely browned.  The way to do this is to not over stir but to let the base layer brown before you toss them.  Season with salt.
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    DELICATA SQUASH PUREE 
  • 2 delicata squashes, halved and deseeded
  • butter
  • maple syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Butter inside cavity and edges of the squash.  Place flat side down and bake for 35 minutes or so until tender.
  3. Scoop the flesh out into a bowl and add a pat of butter and a splash or maple syrup.  Puree with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy.

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