Recently, I came across a contest that Whole Foods was promoting. They were looking for the perfect holiday side dish for their world-class hot bar. I tossed around ideas for a few hours, okay, it was a few days, but I finally I landed on cabbage. Why did I choose cabbage? Here's a few; cost (man, this inflation is crazy) and the ties to my childhood holiday meals with my Oma and Opa, but the biggest reason was that I don't believe cabbage gets nearly enough love. It is a versatile ingredient that can offer fantastic flavor when roasted or braised. It can hold up to the heat of a chafing dish. It will continue to taste comforting even after 45 minutes at the Whole Foods Hot Bar, making this Brown Butter Cabbage Au Gratin recipe a winner for any holiday gathering, small or large.
Inspired by the traditional Potato Au Gratin, I wanted to create a dish with a simple sauce that paired well with roasted bits of cabbage. The sauce flavors are brought to the forefront using a good amount of black pepper and dijon mustard, making it a perfect pairing for cabbage. Adding the topping is a crunchy, nutty bonus that makes this dish even yummier.
I know this doesn't seem traditional, but I promise it is tasty, and though there will forever be a place for potatoes at my dinner table, I think I will be subbing cabbage for a little while for a more vitamin-nutrient dish.
If you desire to make this Brown Butter Cabbage and Carrot Au Gratin dish but don't have the exact list of ingredients, I have offered some easy substitutes below. This basic recipe inspires you to create your version or just enjoy mine.
- Medium head green cabbage, 1-inch dice
- Large sweet onion, thinly sliced on mandoline or with sharp knife
- Carrots, sliced diagonally, ¼ inch thick
- Small garlic cloves, finely minced or grated
- Half & half
- Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Pinch of nutmeg (less than ⅛ teaspoon)
- Dried thyme leaves or fresh thyme sprigs, leaves only, finely chopped
- Gouda, shredded
- Brown butter
- Panko crumbs
- Parmesan, grated
- Dried parsley
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375˚ and position oven racks in the middle and upper third.
- Brown the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, reserving 3 tablespoons in a separate bowl.
- Combine cabbage, carrots, and onions in a large mixing bowl.
- Whisk together grated garlic, half and half, dijon, nutmeg, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper, adding the remaining brown butter gradually.
- Pour the mixed dressing over the vegetables, gently toss, and spread evenly on a large baking sheet.
- Sprinkle shredded Gouda over the vegetables and bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes.
- Prepare the topping by mixing panko, parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper with the reserved brown butter.
- After 15 minutes, remove the vegetables, mix gently, add the panko topping evenly, and return to bake for another 15 minutes.
- Broil on high in the upper third of the oven for 2-3 minutes until panko is toasted and veggies are lightly charred.
- Allow the dish to cool for five minutes before serving.
- Green cabbage: brussels sprouts, bok choy, cauliflower, kale, chard, and savoy cabbage. You could use red cabbage, but your sauce will be pink.
- Sweet onion: yellow Onion, red Onion, and shallot
- Carrot: Squash, Parsnips, Daikon, and Rutabaga
- Brown Butter: salted butter (but skip the salt in the sauce), olive oil, and vegan butter (but only the European Cultured Vegan Butter will brown)
- Dijon: any grain mustard
- Black Pepper: white pepper, red chili flake
- Half and Half: heavy whipping cream, heavy cream, or whole milk. For a non-dairy substitute, try almond or soy (unflavored)
- Gouda: extra sharp white cheddar, comte, gruyère, and fontina
- Dried Parsley: Italian seasoning mix, fresh parsley, dill, cilantro, and chives
- Parmesan cheese: asiago, gran padano, pecorino and romano
- Panko: bread crumbs, butter crackers, mazto meal, and pork rind panko (a great option for keto and low carb lovers)
- Salt: any type of salt can work here, kosher is just a preference.
Brown Butter Cabbage Au Gratin
- 1 Oven
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium head green cabbage 1-inch dice
- ½ large sweet onion thinly sliced on mandoline or with sharp knife
- 2 carrots sliced diagonally, ¼ inch thick
- 2 small garlic cloves finely minced or grated
- 1 cup half & half
- 2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch of nutmeg less than ⅛ teaspoon
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme sprigs leaves only, finely chopped
- 1 cup gouda shredded
- 3 tablespoons brown butter
- ⅔ cup panko crumbs
- ⅓ cup parmesan grated
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375˚. Place one oven rack in the middle and one in the upper third of the oven.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and let it cook until it begins to foam and brown bits start to form at the bottom of the pan, about 6 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons of brown butter to a small bowl and set aside.
- Place the cut cabbage, carrots, and onions into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl or 4-cup measuring pitcher, add the grated garlic, half and half, dijon, nutmeg, thyme, parsley salt, and pepper. Whisk until combined. Gently whisk in the remaining brown butter. Pour over the bowl of vegetables and gently toss. Place vegetables in an even layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle the shredded Gouda in an even layer over the vegetables. Place the sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- While the vegetables are baking, prepare the topping.
- Add the panko, parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper to the small bowl of brown butter. Mix until well combined.
- After 15 minutes, remove the vegetables from the oven and gently mix, moving the vegetables around on the sheet pan. Add the panko topping in an even layer and return the vegetables to the middle rack of the oven; bake for an additional 15 minutes.
- After the vegetables have become fork-tender, set the oven broiler to high, and place the sheet pan of vegetables on the upper third oven rack. Let the vegetables sit under the broiler for about 2-3 minutes, moving the sheet pan around so the panko doesn't burn. Remove the vegetables from the oven when the panko is toasted and bits of vegetables are lightly charred. Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes before serving.
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