Standing Rib Roast with Blackberry-Cabernet Reduction

Standing Rib Roast with Blackberry-Cabernet Reduction uses a reverse browning technique that I learned from

Standing Rib Roast with Blackberry-Cabernet Reduction
(Mark Kelly, 2016)

Serves 10-12

For the Blackberry-Cabernet Reduction:
18 oz. fresh blackberries
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
4 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
10 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 Tbsp tomato paste
6 cups beef broth
2 cups Cabernet Sauvignon
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 bay leaves
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
8 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

2 6-bone standing rib beef roasts (dry aged for at least one week, fat cap trimmed to 1/4″ thick
12 large garlic cloves, finely grated
12 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 cup rosemary leaves
6 Tbsp fennel seeds, finely ground
4 Tbsp dried minced onions
3 Tbsp Seasoned salt
2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
4-6 fresh thyme sprigs
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

To prepare Reduction: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the carrot, celery, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the blackberries and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the berries soften and release their juice. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the tomato paste and cook stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the broth, wine, vinegar, bay leaves, rosemary, and fresh black pepper. Mix well. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes.

Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve into a medium saucepan pressing down on the solid with a wooden spoon. Continue to simmer until the sauce is reduced by about half, about 45 minutes. The sauce can be made to this point and refrigerated for up to 3 days ahead of time. To finish the sauce, over low heat, whisk in the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Reseason with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Working in batches, scatter rosemary over a paper towel-lined microwave safe plate. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Check rosemary and continue to microwave for 20 second intervals, until dry and crisp. Grind the rosemary in a spice mill or coffee grinder. Add fennel seeds and dried minced onions and grind until powdered. Mix in seasoned salt and black pepper.

Trim the roasts to remove any moldy of spoiled surface meat and all but 1/4-inch of the fat caps. Score the fat caps in a crosshatch pattern spacing cuts about 1-inch apart. Rub the roasts all over with the garlic paste. Coat the roasts with the rosemary-fennel mixture. Place on a rack in a large roasting pan fat cap-side up uncovered in the refrigerator over night, up to one day. Let roasts sit a room temperature for at least 2 hours before roasting.

To cook the roasts: Preheat oven to 225F and place a rack on the lower third of the oven. Place the roasts on a rack in shallow roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet. Toss onion, carrots, garlic cloves, and celery in oil and season with salt and pepper. Scatter the vegetables around the base of the roasts along with the thyme sprigs. Roast the meat, rotating the pan once until an instant read thermometer reads 125F. Remove from the oven and tent with foil and let rest for 30 minutes. To finish: Move a rack to the top third of the oven and increase the temperature to 500F. Roast until deep brown and exterior is crisp, 8-10 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

To serve: Drizzle slices of beef with generous amounts of the Blackberry-Cabernet Reduction.

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A Pair of Grilled Skewer Dishes

Sweet Spicy Grilled Bacon Skewers with Scallion-Ginger Relish is a great appetizer or the bacon skewers can be combined with other skewers meats, like Soy-Basted Chicken with Sesame-Citrus Sprinkle as a meal. In either case they are perfect for an Independence Day cookout.



Sweet Spicy Grilled Bacon Skewers with Scallion-Ginger Relish
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of, June 2016)

Makes (6) 12-inch skewers

6 scallions, thinly sliced
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
4 Tbsp light brown sugar, divided
Kosher salt
4 Tbsp
Vegetable oil (for brushing grill)
4 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp Sriracha
1 1/2 lbs. extra-thick-cut bacon
Lime wedges for serving

To make Scallion-Ginger Relish: In a medium bowl, whisk together scallions, serrano, lime juice, sesame oil, ginger and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Season with salt and refrigerate until serving.

To prepare the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together honey, remaining 3 tablespoons brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, and Sriracha. Can be made up to a week ahead of time. Cover and chill.

Prepare gas grill for indirect cooking with only one or two burners on. Thread the bacon onto skewers, folding back and forth in accordion style and grill over indirect heat, turning every minute or so until brown and crispy. Be patient and take care to minimize flare-ups. Once crispy, baste with glaze every 30 seconds or so, until lacquered and slightly sticky, about 3 minutes. Serve with Scallion-Ginger Relish and lime wedges.


Soy-Basted Chicken with Sesame-Citrus Sprinkle
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of, June 2016)

Makes (6) 12-inch skewers

4 Tbsp toasted white and black sesame seeds
2 Tbsp thinly sliced chives
1 Tbsp cracked red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp lemon zest
Kosher salt
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup mirin
2/3 cup lower-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp Sriracha
2 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken strips
Vegetable oil (for the grill)

To make Sesame-Citrus Sprinkle: Mix sesame seeds, chives, red pepper, and lemon zest in a small bowl to combine; season with salt.

Combine the brown sugar, mirin, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and Sriracha in a large bowl. Marinate the chicken strips, refrigerated, for at least 2 hours or overnight. When skewering the chicken, remove most of the marinade to a sauce pan and cook over medium-high heat until it boils and then simmer until it is reduced by half and thickened. Remove glaze from heat and reserve for basting.

Prepare gas grill for indirect heat with only one or two burners on. Oil grates. Grill over direct heat until browned and beginning to char. Move to indirect heat and continue to grill glazing turning every 30 seconds until cooked through and coated with glaze, about 5 minutes. Serve topped with Sesame-Citrus Sprinkle.

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Potato-Stuffing Waffle Bites

Potato-Stuffing Waffle Bites is a way to use Thanksgiving sides to make something fun and unique using your waffle maker instead of just reheating or microwaving your leftovers. Serve Potato-Stuffing Waffle Bites with leftover turkey gravy or top them with a dollop of sour cream, a scallion garnish and couple dashes of Sriracha.


Potato-Stuffing Waffle Bites
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

Makes about 16 servings

2 cups leftover potatoes (white or sweet or some combination)
2 cups leftover stuffing
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp chopped scallions (white and green parts), plus more for garnish
1/2 cup grated cheese (cheddar or mozzarella)
1 egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

Coat waffle maker with cooking spray and preheat.

Combine potatoes, stuffing, flour, scallions, cheese and egg. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Spoon 1/4 cup onto the center of the waffle maker, close and cook until golden brown. Repeat with remaining mixture.

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Oyster Stuffing

Oyster Stuffing is a traditional recipe made popular on the east and gulf coasts of the United States where oysters abound. Though visually unspectacular (hence no accompanying picture), this dish is a taste treat.

Oyster Stuffing
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup celery, coarsely chopped
1 pint oysters, liquid discarded, rinsed and patted dry, chopped in to halves or quarters depending on size
1 1/4 cups lower sodium, fat free chicken stock
1 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
3 sprigs thyme, leaves finely chopped
1 stick unsalted butter
5 cups dry stuffing mix
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and celery until lightly browned and softened. Add oyster, chicken stock, spices and butter, season with salt and pepper to taste, stir until butter is melted. In a large bowl, combine oyster mixture with stuffing mix. Stir until moist. Transfer stuffing to an oven-safe dish. Let stand, refrigerated, for at least 1 hour before baking.

Bake at 350F for 45 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes after baking.

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Cornish Game Hens

Roasted Cornish Game Hens are a nice alternative to chicken or even the Thanksgiving turkey. They are small, so they, roast quickly. They can be served one per person or served in halves so that each guest gets breast, thigh, leg and wing meat.

The key to roasting Cornish Game Hens is to set them on the bottom of very shallow roasting pan or a rimmed baking sheet with no rack. This allows the heat to get to and caramelize all of the skin. Another trick is to generously salt the skin during the hour while they are coming up to room temperature before roasting. Salting helps draw moisture from the skin so the skin of the birds can get nice and crispy.


Cornish Game Hens
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

Serves 8

4 Cornish game hens
Kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 heads of garlic
Fresh rosemary
Fresh thyme
Fresh sage
1 small lemon, quartered

Preheat oven to 400F.

Stuff the cavities of each bird with a sprig of rosemary, a sprig of thyme, a sage leave, and a lemon wedge. Truss each bird with cooking twine. Generously salt the birds and place them on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Allow to stand for an hour before roasting.

Finely chop the leaves of two thyme sprigs and two rosemary sprigs and four sage leaves. Just prior to roasting, season the birds with this herb mixture. Slice the top off of each garlic head, place them among the birds and drizzle them with olive oil.

Roast the birds for 1 hour or until juices run clear and the internal temperature of each bird reaches 180F. Remove the birds from the oven and allow them to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

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Roasted Acorn Squash with Sweet and Spicy Red Pepper Jelly

Roasted Acorn Squash with Sweet and Spicy Red Pepper Jelly is a great Fall side dish. Serve it alongside your Thanksgiving turkey, a pork roast, or roast duck.

When preparing the squash you may have to remove the stem and or the pointed end of the squash so the pieces will sit stably in the pan.

Sweet and Spicy Red Pepper Jelly is also an excellent condiment for any roasted meat or poultry. Try it on your post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich or on top of a cream cheese-slathered toasted bagel.


Roasted Acorn Squash with Sweet and Spicy Red Pepper Jelly
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 4 pats
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup Sweet and Spicy Red Pepper Jelly (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375F. Place squash halves, cut side down, in 1/4″ of water in a rimmed pan. Bake for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix brown sugar and Sweet and Spicy Red Pepper Jelly in a small bowl until the brown sugar is completely dissolved.

Remove the squash from the oven and drain the water. Flip the squash pieces over and put a pat of butter in each. Then spoon equal amounts of the brown sugar-pepper mixture into each squash, leaving a rim of the mixture along the cut edges. Bake, cut side up, for an additional 20 minutes, or until tender. Allow to cool a bit before serving. Serve with additional Sweet and Spicy Red Pepper Jelly to garnish.

Sweet and Spicy Red Pepper Jelly
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

Makes about 3 cups

4 red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
4 red chile peppers (such as Fresno), coarsely chopped
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

Pulse the peppers in a food processor. Transfer to large sauce pan with the sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce to a simmer and continue simmering until the liquid is reduce by about half and thickened, at least one hour.

Divide jelly between jars. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

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Crown Pork Roast with Mushroom – Broccoli Stuffing

Crown Pork Roast is an elegant, classic preparation. Most grocery stores with in-house butchers will prepare the crown-shaped rack of pork chops. Even better, if you have a meat market like Ream’s Elburn Market nearby, order your crown pork roast from them and get the highest quality of pork.

Preparing the roast is very simple. It mainly just takes time and a good instant-read thermometer, like the Thermapen, to make sure the meat reaches 150F and doesn’t go too far past that mark.

At the bottom of this post is a recipe for Cider Gravy, which is new for Ample Bites thanks to friend and fellow foodie George Manos. This gravy is outstanding and a perfect compliment for the pork or chicken. Give it a try even if you don’t make a crown pork roast this holiday season


Crown Pork Roast with Mushroom – Broccoli Stuffing
(Mark Kelly, 2013)

Serves 15 to 20

1 crown pork roast (15 ribs)
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp dried thyme leaves, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 head of broccoli, cut into ½-inch pieces
6 cups firm unseasoned bread cubes
12 ounces low-sodium, fat-free chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine

Preheat oven to 325F.

In a small bowl mix the flour with dried parsley, ½ teaspoon thyme and ½ teaspoon pepper. Rub the inside and outside of the roast with salt, then coat the outside with flour mixture. Place the roast rib ends down in a large roasting pan for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare stuffing in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of oil to the skillet. Cook the garlic for 30 seconds. Add the onion and cook until tender and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, broccoli, ½ teaspoon thyme and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and beginning to brown and the broccoli is tender but still crisp. Stir in the bread cubes and chicken stock. Toss until mixed well.

When pork has roasted 2 hours remove it from the oven and turn the rib ends up. Fill the cavity with stuffing. Bake any leftover stuffing in a covered casserole during the last 40 minutes of cooking and standing time. Pour wine into the roasting pan to keep the drippings moist.

Return roast to oven and continue roasting about 1 ½ hours or until an instant meat thermometer between 2 ribs into the thickest part of the meat reads 150F. If the stuffing is browning too quickly cover it with a piece of foil

Let the roast stand for at least 15 minutes before carving.

Cider Gravy
(Recipe courtesy of George Manos and, 2013)

1 cup apple cider
4 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp applejack brandy
1 1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth

Add 1 cup broth to roasting pan and scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour juices into 2-cup measuring cup, freeze for 15 minutes. Spoon fat off top of pan juices. Transfer pan juices to medium sauce pan. Add remaining 1/2 cup beef broth and apple cider. Bring to a boil. Dissolve cornstarch into applejack in small bowl; whisk into broth mixture. Boil until gravy thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer gravy to a warm gravy boat to serve.

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Turkey Recipe and Cooking Methods

If you are still undecided about how you plan to cook your Thanksgiving turkey, consider that there are countless methods for cooking your turkey. Choose from one of the favorites, invent your own method, or just use Ample Bites’ recipe.

Some people, like my mother, have cooked them in the oven overnight at a lower temperature. Others roast their turkey in a large paper bag. A recent craze has been to deep-fry the turkey in boiling oil, while trying not to burn the garage down. A tried and true method used by many is to smoke the turkey using a smoker or either a gas or charcoal grill.

Ample Bites is a traditionalist and I prefer the oven-roasting method that starts with a brined fresh turkey. The initial roasting takes place at high-temperature (450F). The heat is then reduced to 325F for the balance of the cooking time. This method is pretty foolproof but it does take some attention on the part of the cook to make sure the skin browns but does not burn and the turkey reaches 165F.

Brined and Roasted Fresh Turkey
(Mark Kelly, 2012)

Serves 8 – 10

1 12 – 14 pound fresh turkey

For Brine
2 quarts of cold apple juice
1 cup Kosher salt
2 Tbsp dried sage
2 Tbsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp dried rosemary
2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper

For Roasting
1 ½ Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp minced fresh sage leaves
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
1 medium onion, quartered
1 orange, quartered
1 lemon, quartered

Thaw turkey, if frozen, and remove neck and giblets. Mix brine by pouring salt and spices into the apple juice until salt is completely dissolved. Place turkey in plastic brining bag and pour brine in. Pull the bag tight and tie it closed. Place the turkey in a cooler with a bag or two of ice for 24 hours.

Remove the turkey from the brine after 24 hours and rinse it with cold water. Pat the turkey dry, inside and out, and leave uncovered at room temperature for about one hour before seasoning.

Preheat oven to 450F.

Rub the turkey inside and out with black pepper. Place the turkey in a rack in a roasting pan. Mix butter, lemon zest, rosemary, sage and thyme in a small bowl. Rub herb butter over the top of the turkey and inside cavity.

Place onion, orange, and lemon inside turkey cavity. Foil the tips of the wings to keep them from burning. Pour 4 cups water into pan. Roast turkey, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325F. Baste turkey with pan juices; add more water, if needed, to maintain at least ¼-inch of liquid in the bottom of the roasting pan. Continue roasting turkey, basting every 30 minutes and tenting with foil if skin is turning too dark, until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165F (juices should run clear when thermometer is removed), about 2 ¾ hours total.

Transfer turkey to a platter. Tent with foil and let rest for 1 hour before carving.

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More Alternative Thanksgiving Sides

Ample Bites has recipes for Roasted Acorn Squash with Chile Vinaigrette and Parmesan-Roasted Cauliflower that are easily scalable to the size of your Thanksgiving party.

Simple preparation with robust flavorful outcomes make these side dishes perfect for pairing with your roasted turkey. In fact with a watchful eye these two dishes can be roasted simultaneously in the same oven at the lower of the two oven settings of 425F.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Chile Vinaigrette
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Epicurious, 2012)

Serves 4 – 6

2 (1 ½ pound) acorn squash
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp Kosher salt
6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 ½ Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 – 2 tsp finely chopped or ground dried hot red chile, including seeds
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Put the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 450F.

Halve the squash lengthwise, then cut off and discard the stem ends. Scoop out the seeds and cut the squash lengthwise into ¾-in-wide wedges. Toss with the pepper, salt and 2 tablespoons of oil in a bowl. Arrange cut side down in 2 large shallow baking pans.

Roast the squash, switching position of the pans halfway through roasting, until tender and undersides of wedges are golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes.

While squash roasts, mince the garlic and mash to a paste with ¼ teaspoon salt. Transfer the paste to a small bowl and whisk in the lime juice, chile to taste, cilantro and ¼ cup oil until combined.

Transfer the squash, browned sides up, to a platter and drizzle with the vinaigrette.


Parmesan-Roasted Cauliflower
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of, February 2013)

Makes 4 Servings

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 medium onion, sliced
4 thyme sprigs
4 unpeeled garlic cloves
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup grated Parmesan
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425F.

Toss cauliflower with onion, thyme, garlic and oil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast, tossing occasionally, until almost tender, 35 – 40 minutes. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, toss to combine and roast until cauliflower is tender, 10 – 12 minutes longer.

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Alternative Thanksgiving Side Dishes: Part One – Two Gratins

Depending on upon where you live or where you were raised you have staple side dishes for your Thanksgiving meal. Green bean casserole, varieties of sweet potato dishes, and stuffings or dressings are among the most popular. If you want to mix things up a little bit this year, try one of these gratins.


Fennel Gratin with Pecorino and Lemon features a mild anise flavor with a crunchy breadcrumb topping.

Leek and Mushroom Gratin is a bit creamier with the same topping.


Fennel Gratin with Pecorino and Lemon
(Mark Kelly, 2012)

Serves 10

5 Tbsp EVOO
1 large onion, halved, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
3 large garlic cloves, minced
5 large fennel bulbs, trimmed, cored, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 ½ tsp coarse kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper

Crumb Topping
3 Tbsp butter
¾ cup panko
1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
1 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley
1 ½ tsp finely grated lemon peel

Gratin – Lightly oil shallow 2-quart glass or ceramic dish. Heat 5 tablespoons oil in large wide pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic.; sauté until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add fennel; increase heat to medium-high and sauté until fennel is slightly softened and beginning to brown, stirring frequently, about 18 minutes. Stir in broth and next 4 ingredients. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until most of broth is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Transfer to dish.

Crumb Topping – Melt butter in large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add panko; sauté until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Stir Pecorino, parsley, and peel into panko.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Sprinkle panko mixture over fennel. Bake until gratin is heated through and topping is deep golden, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Leek and Mushroom Gratin
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Gourmet, October 2012)

Serves 6

¾ stick unsalted butter, divided
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
¼ pound Gruyere, finely grated – about 2 cups
½ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 Tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
3 pounds leeks, root ends trimmed
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 ½ cups low sodium chicken stock
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over low heat, then cool.

Toss melted butter with breadcrumbs, cheeses, garlic, parsley, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a bowl until combined.

Trim each leek to an 8-inch length. Halve leeks lengthwise, then cut crosswise into roughly 1-inch pieces. Wash leeks and drain well.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 1 to 1 ½-qt heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook roux, whisking, 1 minute. Add stock in a slow stream, whisking, then bring to a boil, whisking. Add nutmeg and zest and boil, whisking, 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 400F. Butter baking dish.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper, then cover leeks directly with a round piece of parchment paper and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and leeks are tender and just beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat until foam subsides. Add mushrooms and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and mushrooms are just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Remove parchment from leeks and stir in mushrooms. Transfer mixture to baking dish, spreading it evenly. Pour sauce over vegetables and top with crumb mixture. Bake until gratin is babbling and topping is golden, about 15 minutes.

Note: Gratin can be assembled, without breadcrumbs, 8 hours ahead and chilled (covered once cooled). Bring to room temperature, stir, and top with breadcrumbs before baking.

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