Creamy and delicious Celery Gratin makes a great side dish to most any meal! The subtle flavors of the celery shine in this surprisingly simple and elegant dish that’s finished with an easy cheese sauce and crispy panko crumb topping.
If you have never cooked with celery as the star ingredient of a dish, you are in for a pleasant surprise! Fresh celery has a delicate flavor that when tossed in a simple cream sauce elevates the flavor to a new level. This post is sponsored by Duda Farm Fresh Foods. They have some of the best tasting celery on the market, super crispy and fresh. We also love that their celery is pre-washed to save a step in the cooking process! Find Dandy celery at a grocer near you.
Ingredients to make Celery Gratin
- Dandy Celery – we love this celery brand for it’s freshness and ease of use!
- onion – sweet onions work well for this but any onion will work.
- garlic – an essential when developing flavors.
- flour – all purpose white
- thyme – fresh or dried
- half and half – half milk/half cream
- butter– we use it a few times in this recipe, we prefer salted.
- Swiss cheese – we love swiss in this recipe but you can substitute any good melting cheese.
- panko crumbs – for a crispy, crunchy golden topping.
How to make Celery Gratin.
Cut your celery and onion into large pieces. About 1 inch. The larger pieces help to keep the celery tender and not too soft while it bakes up in the sauce.
In a large pan, sauté the celery and onion in butter. Cook until just firm tender about 5 minutes. Add garlic, salt and pepper.
IMPORTANT : After you have sautéed the celery and onions you will have some liquid in the bottom of the pan. Drain the entire contents in a colander and pour into your prepared casserole dish. Draining the liquid will keep your sauce from getting runny as it bakes.
Time to start on the easy cheese sauce!
How to make cheese sauce for Celery Gratin.
Use the same skillet as you used for the celery onion mixture (less dishes the better!). Melt butter on medium high heat. When the butter is melted, add the flour. Whisk until fully incorporated and very thick making a roux. Add the half and half, reduce heat to medium and continue to stir until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add the cheese, thyme, salt and pepper. Taste test for the best results! More salt? More pepper?
Add the cream on top of the celery mixture, then top with a mixture made of butter & panko crumbs. Bake for about 20 minutes until bubbly around the edges and heated all the way through.
What to serve with Celery Gratin.
We like to keep the main dish simple as this Celery Side Dish is the star of the show!
- Greek Marinated Chicken – an easy and fast marinade that elevates simple chicken.
- Asian Pork Tenderloin – the subtle flavors of the celery really pair well with asian dishes.
- Reverse Sear Steak – our most popular steak recipe!
- Dijon and Fresh Herb Salmon – everything in the oven at the same time for this easy weeknight meal!
Kathi and Rachel
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- 2 tablespoons butter
- 6 cups Dandy Celery (about 2 pounds cut into 1 inch pieces)
- 1 cup chopped onion (sweet, yellow or white)
- 3 large garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
Cheese Sauce Ingredients
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 6 tablespoons all purpose white flour
- 2 cups half and half (half milk/half cream)
- 1/2 cup grated swiss
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon thyme (dried or fresh)
- 1.5 cups panko crumbs
- 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
- pinch of salt
- Heat oven to 375 °F. Spray a 9x13 inch casserole dish with nonstick spray.
- Melt butter in large saute' pan over medium high heat. Add chopped celery and onion. Cook for about 5 minutes until just tender. Add garlic, salt and pepper and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and drain liquid (I find the easiest method is to pour the cooked celery into a colander. Do not rinse!) Pour drained hot celery/onion mixture into prepared casserole dish. Set aside.
To make the cheese sauce
- Melt 6 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium high heat. Add 6 tablespoons of flour and whisk until well blended, thick and no visible flour remains.
- Add 2 cups half and half to the cooked flour and butter mixture. Stir until sauce starts to simmer around edges. Reduce heat to medium. Add thyme, salt and pepper. Continue to stir and simmer until thick.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in grated swiss cheese until melted. Taste! More salt or pepper?
- Pour the cream sauce over the celery and onion mixture.
- Mix melted butter and panko crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over the celery and cream mixture.
- Bake for 30 minutes until edges are bubbly and center is hot.
- Store any left overs in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Freezing is not recommended.
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