‘Vegetable Au Gratin’ is a dish of French origins where assorted vegetables are mixed with white sauce and topped with butter, cheese and bread crumbs. This is my twist to the original recipe, as my kids like to have it. I use a little oregano and chives to slightly ‘Italianize’ the flavor of the white sauce because that’s the way my kids like it. And I love to top it with extra cheese because my kids love cheese! This is what I love about cooking. You can always experiment with the recipe and come up with something that your family loves to eat!
- 500 grams (3-1/2 cups) of chopped assorted vegetables (Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots, Peas, Green Beans, Bell Peppers, Baby Corn, Mushrooms, Asparagus, etc). Use whatever you like.
- 20 grams (1 tbsp) butter
- Italian Seasonings like Oregano, Chives, Paprika, etc. Again use flavors that you like.
For the sauce
- 50 (2 oz) grams butter.
- 50 (2 oz) grams flour
- 500 ml milk (approx. 17 oz)
- 100 (4 oz) grams cheese
- Salt to taste
- Oregano, Chives, White Pepper for seasoning.
For the topping
- 200 (8 oz) grams grated cheese
To prepare the vegetables:
Wash the chopped vegetables and boil them for 3 minutes in enough boiling water to cover them. The vegetables should be al-dente, and not over cooked. Drain the vegetables and keep aside.
In a frying pan melt 20 grams butter, and lightly saute the boiled vegetables for about 2 minutes. Season with Oregano, Chives and Pepper or Paprika. Remove to a bowl.
To prepare the white sauce:
In a sauce pan, melt 50 grams butter. Add 50 grams white flour to the butter and combine the two over low heat. This mixture of butter and flour is called a ‘Roux’. Keep stirring the roux till the flour is cooked and no longer smells raw. Make sure the flour does not turn brown or burn. Take the sauce pan off the heat.
Now add 500 ml milk slowly to the roux, stirring continuously so as not to form any lumps. After you have added all the milk, place the saucepan on medium heat again and bring the sauce to a boil. Add 100 grams grated cheese. Add salt, oregano, chives, paprika and any other seasonings you like. Keep stirring the sauce so as not to form any lumps. Cook the sauce for 2 minutes or until the roux, milk and cheese are completely melted into a thick sauce. The sauce for the Au Gratin should be thick, and should coat your finger thickly without dripping.
Pour the white sauce over the boiled and sauteed vegetables, and mix till all the vegetables are evenly coated. Lightly grease a baking dish with butter. Spoon the vegetables in white sauce into the baking dish. I spooned them directly into several aluminum foil dishes since I had to give them away to friends and family. We have plenty of takers for this dish here!
Now top with 200 grams grated cheese so that the vegetables are entirely covered with a layer of cheese. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or till the top cheese layer turns light brown. Keep an eye on the oven to make sure the cheese does not burn. Adjust the time according to your oven.
My kids love to gorge on this soul satisfying Vegetable Au Gratin! You can serve slices of buttered and grilled garlic bread with the Vegetable Au Gratin. It is, though, a complete one-dish meal. In my home, we eat it all by itself, and we never have leftovers!