"We kids feared many things in those days - werewolves, dentists, North Koreans, Sunday School - but they all paled in comparison with Brussels sprouts." ~ Dave Barry
When I was a kid, once in a blue moon my mom would make Brussels sprouts. She steamed the wretched things and they came out tasting like a giant spitball-- wet, mushy and flavorless. Meh! At some point it was either my mom or my dad that thought it would be funny to tell me that Brussels sprouts were really cabbages that had been put in the washer and dryer and had shrunk. Given my mother's propensity to shrink clothes in the dryer I bought into it hook, line and sinker and for quite a many years thought that Brussels sprouts were indeed the innocent victims of laundry gone awry. Then a few years ago, I had some delicious roasted Brussels sprouts served with aioli at Cook's in St. Helena and my eyes were opened. The light bulb went on and I realized- Brussels sprouts didn't have to taste like a damp tennis ball, they could be delicious! So, this Thanksgiving I decided to recreate Orangette's Cream-Braised Brussel Sprouts and OMG, they were heavenly. The dish went over well at the dinner and I even converted a few Brussels sprout haters. Those green rounds came out so good that, Mr. S. and I decided to make them again last night. Mr. S., a life-long Brussels sprout detester, couldn't stop smacking his lips in approval and Kidlet #1 even liked it. Holy moly! An 11 year old who'll eat Brussels sprouts voluntarily? I've accomplished quite the feat! Anyhow, set your hate for Brussels sprouts aside for a night, throw caution to the wind and MAKE THIS RECIPE. You won't be disappointed.
Orangette's Cream-Braised Brussels Sprouts
1 ¼ lb. Brussels sprouts (medium-size ones, with heads that measure, say, 1 to 1 ¼ inches in diameter)
3 Tbs unsalted butter
¼ tsp coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
- First, prep the Brussels sprouts. Trim the stem end of each sprout and pull off any ragged or nasty outer leaves.
- Cut the sprouts in half from stem end to tip, and then cut each half in half again. Ultimately, you want little wedges. (This isn't just for aesthetics, it helps the sprout cook more thoroughly.)
- In a large (12-inch) skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are nicely browned in spots, about 5 minutes or so. I like mine to get some good color here, so that they have a sweetly caramelized flavor.
- Pour in the cream, stir to mix, and then cover the pot. Reduce the heat to low or medium low: you want to keep the pan at a slow simmer.
- Braise until the sprouts are tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a paring knife, about 30-35 minutes. The cream will have reduced some and will have taken on a creamy tan color.
- Remove the lid, and stir in the lemon juice. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary. Let the pan simmer, uncovered, for a minute or two to thicken the cream to a glaze that loosely coats the sprouts. Serve immediately.
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings,