9/27/10

Peas Au Gratin

Peas Au Gratin


My husband and I just returned from a weekend in Arizona visiting our daughter who's away at college. It was an awesome time seeing her there in her element, all grown up and living away from us and all but it also made me long for the times when my kids were little and, of course, still at home.


Coincidentally, around the same time a friend had asked me for a potatoes au gratin recipe, and it reminded me of one of our family favorites that I hadn't made in quite some time - Peas Au Gratin. It's been one of my kids' favorites for many years - even choosing it over potatoes au gratin, broccoli au gratin, and any other vegetable you could slather in a creamy cheddary sauce, top with sharp cheddar cheese and bake in the oven until bubbly and melty on the inside, and crispy on the outside.


Anyway, food can be very sentimental, evoking sights and sounds of the past, so this evening I made the Peas Au Gratin and served it alongside a rotisserie chicken I picked up at the market. Simple and satisfying - in more ways than one.


fresh green garden peas I picked up at Gelson's, shelling only took a few minutes

Serves 4

Oven 350 degrees F

Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons salted butter
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon of white pepper (or finely ground black pepper)
pinch of nutmeg (I use fresh grated)
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided (I used an aged New York sharp cheddar cheese)
*2 cups shelled fresh green garden peas OR one 16-ounce bag of frozen peas (either will work well), see Cook's note


(*2 cups shelled peas are equal to approximately 2 pounds of unshelled peas/peas still in their pods)


To make the cheese sauce: In small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Then add flour, salt, and pepper and stir to combine, making a roux or paste.

Next add milk and stir or whisk constantly until mixture is thick, bubbly and smooth. This is your b├ęchamel or white sauce - the base for your cheese sauce. Add a pinch of nutmeg and stir. Remove from heat and immediately add 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Stir until cheese is melted in and completely combined.

Place peas in medium size baking dish, pour cheese sauce over, and mix together. Sprinkle remainder of cheddar cheese over top and bake in oven for 30 minutes until dish is bubbling and hot, and top is lightly browned. Place under broiler for an additional 2-3 minutes, keeping an eye on it so  it doesn't burn, but allowing it to get crispy on top.


roux on the left, b├ęchamel sauce on the right


before oven on the left, just out from broiler on the right


Cook's note:  When using fresh green garden peas, first rinse the pods. To shell hold each pod vertically with a seam facing you, pinch the stem then run your thumbs down the seam, pulling open at the same time, like you're opening a book. The pod should pop open exposing the peas. Remove the peas by running your thumb or fingers through the inside of the pod. Rinse peas before using.




14 comments:

  1. yum! i've had milk and cheese in the fridge for two days looking to do a dish like this, but i have cauliflower and broccoli, so think i'll do this with that instead. seems like this dish would be REALLY good with fresh, fresh! peas, and not the frozen ones that I have

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  2. I cannot get enough of peas lately! This dish looks fantastic...I love the cheesy browned topping. Yum!

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  3. Gasp... why have I never thought to cook peas this way? I would go try it right now except that I just used up my last few peas making creamed tuna.

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  4. Perfect Rabbittrick!

    Me, too Karen - peas are one of my favorites :-)

    Julie - creamed tuna with peas..YUM!

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  5. Peas are currently my daughters favourite thing in the world - I'll have to try this. Thanks, it looks fantastic!

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  6. Yum! Cheese and peas (hey, that rhymes!)...great combo!

    And I have to admit, I'm confused. Your profile pic. I assume that is a pic of your daughter and not you because if it was I'd say you look too young to have a daughter in college. Course, you could be that lucky and look so young for your age. =)

    I dunno. My brain isn't working with me today so I can't seem to think or write straight.

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  7. Looks good! I love peas and throw them in my mac and cheese often. I need to try this!

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  8. You know of all the things I've had au-gratin, I don't think I've ever tried peas that way. Maybe I'd eat them that way. Thanks for your support, you have my vote too! Good Luck, I'll be cheering you on!
    -Gina-

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  9. Mummy's Kitchen I hope she likes it!

    KIm - THANK YOU - that is the nicest thing and you are too kind!!

    Debbie - Ohhhh peas in mac n cheese?? Can you say Heaven?!! I'll def do this!

    Gina - The first time I ever had peas au gratin I thought the same thing - like why didn't I think of this before?! Very best wishes in the challenge!! Will continue to vote for you :-)

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  10. this will satisfy my tummy any day! love to have peas especially with cheese too. oh my.


    Have a wonderful day up ahead!
    jen @ www.passion4food.ca

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  11. This recipe looks great. Nice blog, amazing photos!

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  12. I love veggies au gratin. I'll have to try this!

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