Braised and Baked Brussels Sprouts
Serve this hearty gratin as a side dish to accompany roasted chicken or lamb. For a vegetarian version substitute onion for the bacon and sauté it in a little olive oil, then proceed as directed. Neudorf is a Pyrenees-style sheep’s milk cheese with a complex nuttiness that comes from up to 15 months of aging. Appropriate substitutes include Piedmont from Everona Dairy in Virginia or a well-aged Manchego.
- ¼ pound bacon cut into small squares
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ pound brussels sprouts washed and halved
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 2 cups chicken broth
- Sea salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 sprigs rosemary needles only, chopped
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ pound Neudorf sheep’s milk cheese or other long-aged artisan substitute, grated
- Heat the oven to 350°F. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until the fat is rendered—3 to 4 minutes. Smash one of the garlic cloves, and add to the skillet with the brussels sprouts and 4 thyme sprigs; cook briefly until the garlic is slightly browned.
- Add the chicken broth, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Season with salt and a little pepper, cover, and simmer for 6 minutes, until the sprouts are tender. Meanwhile, roughly chop the remaining garlic cloves; remove and chop the leaves from the remaining sprigs of thyme.
- Transfer the brussels sprouts mixture to an oven-safe baking dish. Toss the bread crumbs with the rosemary, thyme leaves, and chopped garlic, then drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture and the cheese over the brussels sprouts, and bake until the top is golden and crispy.
Chef Schwass likes to serve the warm brussels sprouts lightly topped with grated cheese, tiny pea sprouts, and a few tender-crisp leaves from a brussels sprout.