Here's another winner, just fresh Brussels sprouts cooked in liquid in a covered skillet (yes, that's what it means to 'braise').
"BUT MY FAMILY WON'T EAT BRUSSELS SPROUTS!" I know, I know. Discomfort with Brussels sprouts and other vegetables in the cabbage (ahem) family is likely all about a sensitivity to bitterness. And the bitterness comes from chemicals called glucosinolates. If someone in your family is hesitant, resistant or outrightly militant in opposition to Brussels sprouts, know that the trick is to break up the center of the sprouts by cutting them in half and then, in order to leach out the chemicals, to cook them in a lot of well-salted water. (Thank you, On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, for this lesson.) Or, like tonight, as I learned, well-salted cream.
When trimming these particular Brussels sprouts, I could tell that they were definitely on the bitter side. So even though the inspiring recipe suggested leaving them whole, I cut them in half, pole to pole, right through the core. Then I cut a small slit into the core, opening up the most dense part of the sprout. (I knew this would make them cook faster, too, and would let the cream sauce wind its way into the caves and tunnels inside a sprout.) Bitterness, be gone!
NEXT TIME I'll try a couple of changes, not because the recipe needed improving, taste-wise, but to simplify it further.
When the sprouts were finished cooking, the halves looked so pretty in the skillet that I was sorry to have to 'stir them up' to add the mustard. So next time, I'll stir the mustard into the cream and broth beforehand and then take the entire skillet to the table. Yay! A dish saved!
For calorie purposes, I'll skip the cream and just braise the sprouts in chicken stock and mustard.
"ALL THAT TRIMMING, WHAT ABOUT FROZEN BRUSSELS SPROUTS?" I don't have good luck with frozen Brussels sprouts. Especially if you're trying to convert someone to how good Brussels sprouts can be, I would definitely use fresh ones. This time of year, supermarkets will often have whole stalks of Brussels sprouts, just break off ones of similar size.
~ Wine-Glazed Brussels Sprouts ~
~ Lemony Creamy Brussels Sprouts ~
~ more Brussels sprouts recipes ~
~ one year ago this week Delicata Squash with Hot Pepper Glaze ~
BRAISED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Time to table: 30 minutes
1 tablespoon butter
2 large shallots, chopped
1 pound small- to medium-size fresh Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock (I used bouillon)
Salt (only if the stock or bouillon isn't already salty)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard or other good mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (definitely optional here)
In a large skillet with a cover, melt the butter til shimmery on MEDIUM. Add the shallots and cook gently til just cooked. (The sprouts may not be fully prepped when the shallots are cooked, turn down the stove so they don't burn.)
Meanwhile, trim the Brussels sprouts. HOW TO TRIM BRUSSELS SPROUTS: Wash well. Slice off the end, this will loosen some outer leaves. Discard these, then remove a layer or so of leaves, until what's left inside is clean and bright-looking. Now slice the sprouts from top to bottom, slicing through the center of the core. With a knife, make a small slit just into the core.
Stir the cream and stock into the skillet (and the mustard, if you're trying this). Place the Brussels sprouts in a single layer, cut-side down, in the skillet. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. (Taste one to see if it's done, if salt is needed.)
Remove the skillet from the from heat. If needed, stir in the mustard and the parsley. Serve immediately.
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