By Stacy Harris
To me, Brussels sprouts are fascinating little cabbages that just scream “eat me!” I realize, though, that there are many folks who disagree wholeheartedly. They associate Brussels sprouts with the slimy, mushy, pale green substance that was placed before them in the school cafeteria. If that was your last experience with Brussels sprouts, no wonder you think they’re awful!
That’s too bad. After all, Brussels sprouts are packed full of nutrition. They have among the highest protein content of any vegetable, and if you add a grain to your meal, you will have a complete protein without a lot of the added calories you get from meat.
But just as importantly, they can be utterly delicious. Over the past few years I have experimented with many a Brussels sprouts recipe, and I’ve come to the conclusion that this charming vegetable can be turned into a tasty side for almost any dish, whether it be a light or heavy meal. Here’s the secret: It’s all about the preparation.
For example, one of my very favorite recipes is for Creamed Brussels Sprouts. My kids eat them like candy, so I have to make a double (or even triple) batch to satisfy everyone. I can barely resist them myself, and the bowl rarely reaches the table full.
So before you say that you (or your spouse or your children) do not like Brussels sprouts, indulge me and prepare my Creamed Brussels Sprouts recipe for your family—it will win their hearts (and yours)!
For best flavor when growing your own sprouts, do what I do and harvest them when the stalk reaches about one inch in diameter. If you’re buying from the farmer’s market or grocery store, choose the smaller ones (they will be the least bitter) and try to get the same size so that they will cook evenly.
Also, check out the tasty Wild Rice with Pecans, Cranberries, and Scallions recipe that I love to serve alongside my Creamed Brussels Sprouts. These versatile veggies are fabulous with steak, fish, and pork, too. The sky is the limit when using Brussels sprouts, so let your creativity lead you.
Creamed Brussels Sprouts
1 quart (around 1 pound) Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons butter, melted
¾ cup boiling whipping cream
Salt and pepper
½ pound bacon (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Trim stems and remove outer layers of sprouts.
3. In a stock pot, blanch sprouts for 3 minutes in boiling water. Drain and arrange sprouts in a single layer in a casserole dish.
4. Pour butter over sprouts and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
5. Bake for 10 minutes. While they cook, begin frying the bacon (if using), then laying it on a paper towel.
6. Pour cream over sprouts and bake for 10 to 15 more minutes, or until sprouts are fork-tender. Remove from oven and crumble bacon on top if desired. Adjust seasoning as needed and serve as soon as possible.
Stacy Harris is pioneering the farm-to-fork eating movement that includes harvesting wild animals in addition to domesticated animals and homegrown fruits and vegetables. She’s the author of several books about sustainable living for healthy families, including her most recent release, Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Living. For more recipes like this check out her website at GameandGarden.com and her Facebook page.