This post on braising has been long overdue. At this point I’ve cooked sprouts in heavy amounts of dairy multiple times, but for anyone that hasn’t this is a real treat.
First off, it’s important to note that although Brussels sprouts are clearly a vegetable, it’s easy to make an unhealthy dish with them. This has been brought up in conversation a few times. Remember that French Fries are made of potatoes? Sprouts can be molded to be a super healthy side, part of a great main dish, or a creamy, rich appetizer that I do not recommend you eat on a daily basis. This blog is about exploring all types of sprouts, so just keep that in mind when I eventually get to writing about the gratin I made.
So what is braising? Braising is the process of using dry and wet heat to cook something. Honestly, I don’t think I’d ever done this before I tried this recipe a couple months or so ago, but it isn’t too difficult.
To braise Brussels sprouts you’ll need to first cook them on a pan and then cook them in heavy cream. I will warn you that it doesn’t photograph that well, in part because the lighting in my kitchen is terrible.
Now let’s do this!
Assemble your ingredients. The main things you need are the sprouts themselves, butter, lemon or lime, shallots, leeks, salt and pepper (Not pictured. Oops!).
First prep your vegetables. Slice the leek, shred the sprouts, and chop up a shallot or two. Add butter to the pan. Be generous even if you, like me, don’t usually slather your cooking in fat.
As that is warming up and melting, make sure your vegetables are ready to go. If you only start chopping them now, your butter will burn, and you’ll probably need to use a new pan or have to deal with an unpleasant burnt flavor. No thanks.
Add the leek, Brussels sprouts, and shallot(s) to the pan and cook them until they’ve browned. The original recipe recommends 5 minutes, but it took me a little longer. You know your stove better than I do, so just watch it and occasionally stir so nothing burns or sticks to the bottom.
When the Brussels sprouts mixture looks satisfactory (but not overcooked) pour in cream. An entire cup of it to be exact. You can use a fancy brand or just whatever you find at your grocery store. It’s still cream and going to be delicious.
Turn the heat down a bit and cover the pan. Let that cook for 30-35 minutes. You don’t need to watch it carefully, but do keep an eye out that the liquid hasn’t all evaporated when the time is winding down. If it has, you can turn the heat off a bit earlier.
When it’s done, the sprouts will be moist and the sauce will be mostly absorbed. Add a little fresh lemon or lime. I photographed a lime, but then I found a lemon. I’m sure either would be fine as it’s not a major ingredient. Finish off with salt and pepper before serving.
H/T to Alyce for the cooking suggestion. Send over more tips!