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Posted on Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 10:55 a.m.

Individual potato and Brussels sprout gratins made a special holiday side

By Jessica Webster


Serve individual gratins to make your holiday meal a little more special.

Jessica Webster |

I was talking to my favorite Produce Station clerk about holiday meals the other day, and the contortions that we go through to make each aspect of the meal special. We've got the holiday napkin rings, the holiday napkins, the water pitcher, and a rare appearance by the water glasses. We'll put together a playlist of tasteful holiday music and classic jazz. There will be a roaring fire in the fireplace and we'll be pouring some carefully chosen wine.

Oh — and the food. Yeah, Christmas dinner is all about kicking it up a notch. This is not the time for just meat and potatoes. It's time for fancy meat and fancy potatoes!

Peggy Lampman has a great (and easy!) recipe for standing rib roast that’s looking mighty tempting this year. Augment that with a tasty horseradish custard, and we’re halfway there.

You can doll up mashed potatoes if you’re looking for something special for the holidays (try Zingerman’s Roadhouse’s pimento cheese mashed potatoes if you’re looking for inspiration), but I’m going the au gratin route this time. Inspired by a recipe I saw on "The Next Food Network Star", I started playing around with potatoes and other ingredients to come up with a potato dish that's easy but still different enough to qualify as "fancied up."

You can make the gratins without the Brussels sprouts if you’re not a fan. Just reduce the cooking time for the shallots to 2 minutes. Add the wine and cream and proceed with the rest of the recipe as written.

Individual Potato and Brussels Sprout Gratins

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound brussels sprouts, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Vegetable spray
  • 2 large russet potatoes, roughly peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated gruyere or comte cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter in the oil. Add the brussels sprouts and shallot and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the white wine and cook until evaporated, 1 minute. Add the heavy cream, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Let cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12 muffin tins with vegetable spray. Position potato slices on the bottom of each muffin cup. Using a slotted spoon, spread a thin layer of the brussels sprouts over the sliced potatoes and top with a bit of grated cheese. Repeat the layers until you have reached the top of the muffin tin. Season with salt and pepper and top each gratin with 1 or 2 tablespoons of heavy cream.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, removing the foil halfway through cooking time. Remove the gratins from the oven and let them sit for about 10 minutes. Loosen the gratins by running a knife around the edges, and then invert them onto baking sheet and serve.

Jessica Webster leads the Food & Grocery section for You can reach her at You can also hear her spinning tasteful classic jazz and holiday music on 89.1 FM on Christmas day.


Andrew R. Gorsuch

Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 1:40 a.m.

These look GREAT Jess!


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 10:08 p.m.

Mmmm, mmmm, Brussel Sprouts

Lake Trout

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 5:02 p.m.

OK, I'm confused. I've had horseradish mustard and cream, but never heard of horseradish "custard" Am I missing something? Can I get a recipe for it if I am. Thanks!

Lake Trout

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 6:22 p.m.

Thank you Jessica! That makes much more sense and I think I'll try this to go with my sister-in-laws standing rib roast. Yum!

Jessica Webster

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 5:46 p.m.

Country Mouse - The official title is apparently "Horseradish Relish Molds." I called my mom for the recipe: Serving Size : 6 Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method -------- ------------ -------------------------------- 1 3 oz.pkg lemon-flavour gelatin 3/4 tsp salt 1 cup boiling water 1 tbsp vinegar dash pepper 1 cup sour cream (light is fine) 1/4 cup prepared horseradish 1 tsp onion -- grated Dissolve gelatin and salt in boiling water. Add vinegar and pepper. Chill until slightly thickened. Combine horseradish, sour cream,and onion; add gelatin, blending well. Pour into individual mold (custard cups work fine-spray them lightly with oil first) . Chill until firm. Unmold and chill until serving time.