Making Brussels Sprouts Delicious

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The Brussels sprouts I grow in my garden always end up a little sad looking compared to the local ones I can pick up at a nearby market – mine are tiny! Still, I plant them every year because I enjoy harvesting homegrown produce right through the fall.

While I am perfectly content with a bowl of boiled Brussels sprouts coated in olive oil and showered with sea salt, I also love roasting Brussels sprouts. Roasting them means the insides get very tender while the edges get crisp: a winning combination.

In this recipe, you roast the Brussels sprouts along with some fennel and leeks, then toss everything with a creamy pan sauce. The dish is then sprinkled with Aleppo pepper for a mildly spicy finish, though you can feel free to substitute hotter cayenne or red pepper flakes.

Recipe for Creamy, Spicy Brussels Sprouts

adapted from the recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Wild Mushrooms and Cream in the Oct/Nov 2010 issue of Fine Cooking magazine.

serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • approximately 8 cups of Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half if large
  • 1 cup chopped fennel
  • 1 leek, trimmed and sliced (bottom part only)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • coarse sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cooking Sherry (or other cooking wine)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Aleppo, cayenne pepper, or crushed red pepper- optional, and to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Toss Brussels sprouts, fennel, and leek in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Spread the vegetables out in an even layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast, turning once or twice, until tender and browned (some of the vegetables will be more browned than others), about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

3. Heat a skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the butter. When the butter has melted, reduce heat to medium and add the shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add the cooking wine and cook until the liquid reduces by about half, 1-2 minutes.

4. Turn heat down to low, add the cream, and stir it around. Add the vegetables to the skillet, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are warmed through and coated with the sauce, 2-3 minutes.

5. Serve warm, seasoned to taste with Aleppo pepper, cayenne pepper, or crushed red pepper, and more coarse sea salt.

–Winnie Abramson writes the organic gardening and food blog Healthy Green Kitchen.

Photo credits: Winnie Abramson

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