poached brussels sprouts with shallots

16 November, 2009 at 3:58 pm 3 comments

I have a confession to make. My natural inclination has always been to utterly loathe Brussels sprouts. I know I know, it’s not really cool in the food world to express such an opinion. But I’m not gonna lie, I used to think that liking Brussels sprouts was some sort of status symbol, some kind of way to obtain foodie cred for pretending something gross was a delicacy.

Ironically enough, over the last year I’ve discovered that I actually like them, and I think a lot of my earlier feelings toward them had to do with the way they were prepared in my formative brussels sprouts years. The frozen, then boiled sprouts of my youth did not exactly inspire any appreciation of the vegetable. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover that a nice roasted, braised, or lightly sauteed sprout, cooked with a touch of something complementary (like shallots, pancetta, or a tangy, nutty cheese like parmesan or feta) can be really tasty, especially if they have just been cooked until tender but not mushy–a bit of texture makes all the difference, and I’ve heard that overcooking them is frequently the culprit behind that icky brussels sprout smell that once inspired my deepest loathing.

As this is the time of year when they are readily available and especially tasty, here is one of my new favorite Brussels sprout preparations, as well as a few links to some external sprouting ideas that might pique your interest. Please leave a comment if you have a favorite way to cook them to share!

Pan-poached Brussels sprouts with Shallots
Adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2009
Serves 2

2 cups brussels sprouts (the smaller the better)
2 medium shallots
1 T vegetable or olive oil
about 2/3 cup chicken stock
1 T butter
salt and pepper, to taste

Clean and trim the brussels sprouts, removing tough outer leaves.  Then slice brussels sprouts and shallots thinly.  Add oil to a skillet over medium heat.

When the oil is hot, add sliced shallots to pan.  Stir for 2-3 minutes, or until shallots have begun to soften and are getting translucent.  Then add brussels sprouts to pan and stir to combine and cook for a minute.  Then pour in chicken stock, just enough so that the bottom is covered and the sprouts are sort of bathing in it.

Cook uncovered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of stock is absorbed and sprouts are tender but not mushy.  Remove from heat and stir in the tablespoon of butter, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Enjoy!

Here are some BrusselLinks I’ve been stalking…

Five ways to eat brussels sprouts, from Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn

Brussels sprouts and chestnuts in brown butter from Smitten Kitchen

Brussels sprouts with bacon-horseradish cream (!?!) from Food Network

Roasted brussels sprouts with Pancetta from Bobby Flay or simple Roasted Brussels Sprouts from Ina Garten

Or, if you’d care to step it up to a main course, try Pancetta, Parmesan, and Petite Brussels Sprouts Pasta


Entry filed under: recipes. Tags: , , .

Sunday Dinner: Scaled Down Thanksgiving braised chicken with chanterelles, bacon, and pearl onions

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nate  |  24 November, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Hey, nice blog! I think Brussels sprouts are my favorite veg right now. Slightly above kale, though I like them best cooked the same way–sauteed with garlic and sea salt. That Ina Garten recipe looks right up my alley.

  • 2. Meggie  |  25 November, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    My mom was so scarred from the sulfury, over-steamed sprouts of her youth that she never once fixed them for us growing up. I guess I was lucky because then I wasn’t at all hesitant to try them a few years ago. I’ve only tasted them oven roasted or sauteed, so I haven’t yet met a Brussels sprout I didn’t like! Usually I just sprinkle them with olive oil, salt and fresh pepper and plop them into a 425 oven. Once they start to look a little brown on the edges, they’re done and oh so divine!

  • […] initially came across this recipe when putting together a link brainstorm for my previous brussels sprouts post, and immediately bookmarked it because everything about the title is exciting. Sprouts? Good. […]


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