Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Work-a-Day Wednesday: Braised Brussels Sprouts

Lately brussels sprouts and I have really been feeling the love. I discovered I actually liked brussels sprouts last year after overcoming a life of lies, deception, and a couple unfortunate run-ins with buffet style brussels sprouts.

I've come even further since then. This summer I gave them a try in my garden--just on one of those gardeny whims. Only one of my plants actually ended up producing and I'll be danged if I didn't have the slightest idea of how these babies looked on a stalk. I'd expected the sprouts part to cluster up in a little bunch at the top, a la broccoli. Instead they grow in the nooks of the leaves and get larger as the season goes on. They take a long time to mature (I actually harvested mine--and they were teeny--in an unseasonably warm December since I hadn't put them in till May). I got a whopping 1/2 C of tiny sprouts, but I was proud anyway, and I'll be darned if they didn't sautee into the sweetest little things.

And then brussels sprouts recipes started popping up all over the internet. And then I learned that they're called brussels sprouts, not brussel sprouts. (Who knew?)

And then I made a bunch of sprout recipes in a row. They were all different and all delicious.

The thing about brussels sprouts is that you can't boil or steam them or they get a bitter taste. Sometimes, if you leave them whole they'll boil or steam within their own little tightly-leafed heads even if you're roasting or sauteeing them, so it's best to chop or thinly slice them.

If you're going to be cooking them in water or stock as I do with this recipe, the cooking must be done quickly and without a lid. I cannot stress enough that you don't want these steaming. Set them to high heat and let them absorb the yummy liquids, but don't let them stew in the liquids. This makes for fast cooking. Which is why they're so nice for Work-a-Day Wednesday. They're done in 5 minutes. 

Just be sure to make them last because they really are best served hot

A newcomer to the the brussels sprouts revolution? Have a look at my original post, How Not to Hate Brussels Sprouts

Today's recipe is originally from Laura at This Is How We Eat. Laura and I were high school friends (she's also got a butt-kicky voice and the best hair ever) and have now been reunited through facebook and food. Isn't growing up nice? 

Braised Brussels Sprouts
adapted from This Is How We Eat
Prep and cook time: 10 minutes
Cost: $2.75

1 pound brussels sprouts
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 C chicken stock

Chop of the ends of your brussels sprouts and get rid of any sad leaves. Thinly slice the heads of the sprouts (alternately I'm sure you could just chop them, but they're prettier sliced). 

In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add brussels sprouts and garlic and raise heat to medium high. Stir them very consistently--as in not quite constantly, but don't run off and do something else. Stir them every 30 seconds or so. When the leaves/slices get a bit wilty, soft, and perhaps a wee bit brown at the edges. Now add half your chicken stock. It'll soak up/boil off pretty quickly and that's a good thing. Add the rest of the stock and let it soak up/boil off quickly as well. When the liquid is nearly gone, but not quite, take the brussels sprouts off the heat.

Eat them soon thereafter. If you wish to add a sprinkle of Parmesan, I won't stop you, though they definitely don't need it. 

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