Brussel sprouts, poor little dears. They get such a bad rap. Even I thought I’d have to stick this recipe with a little post I’m concocting called, “Kitchen Disasters” (along with the gluten-free pot pie, the leek and chèvre tart, and the celery root recipes, all of which made such beautiful pictures, but whose final results tasted so deplorably).
I thought the Brussel Sprouts would go in the way of those kitchen failures because they smelled funny as they were cooking. But then my husband came and had a plateful when I wasn’t looking, and was surprised when I moaned about them, saying, “I never knew brussel sprouts could taste so good!”
And when a friend came to lunch today to try them, she said, “Oh yeah. These are not my mother’s brussel sprouts.” I won’t say who this friend was in case her mother should chance upon my blog. 😉
So they are good. But I’ve found that they taste even better when you let them sit for 2 hours after cooking, so give yourself plenty of advance time to prepare this festive side dish.
Here they are, the little green guys.
Wash them, peel off any brown leaves, and cut a cross into the smaller ones so that the flavour of the broth can seep in and so that they cook more thoroughly.
The bigger ones, you should cut right in half so they are sure to cook through.
Brussel sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable, along with cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, kale, and … I’m sure others I can’t think of right now. Cruciferous comes from the word “cross” because these vegetables have a semblance of a cross when you cut them in half. See it? There’s the post with the branches going off on each side. Anyway, this is all very important because cruciferous vegetables help prevent cancer. So there ‘s a very good reason to eat brussel sprouts!
Of course, I don’t think bacon and cream help prevent cancer, but whatever it takes to eat your vegetables, right?
Alrighty. Moving onwards. Start by frying 200 grams of bacon (about 8 slices) and draining it on paper towels. You can do less than this if you want, and you can also skip it entirely, but in that case I’d put twice the butter and 2 extra Tablespoons of sour cream to cut the acidity of the sauce.
Then take a large garlic clove and a large shallot (or two smaller ones). Chop them finely –
– and sauté them in 2T of butter. (25 g)
Add to this 3/4 cup orange juice, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar. Add 2 cups of chicken broth (or 2 cups of water and a large bouillon cube). Make sure it has completely dissolved before adding the brussel sprouts. I didn’t need extra salt because my bouillon mix had plenty.
Add the brussel sprouts to the liquid mixture and bring it to a boil.
When it starts boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for an hour. Stir occasionally. And after an hour, if the brussel sprouts are still hard, cover them for 10-15 minutes. Finish the cooking by turning the heat up to absorb the rest of the liquid.
I want to say here that it’s very important that you stir them gently so the brussel sprouts stay in one piece. (Or mostly).
When you have just the tiniest bit of liquid left, add the zest of one orange, 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper, and another tablespoon of sugar. Then add 3 large tablespoons of crème fraiche (sour cream), the bacon, and stir.
And then, ideally – you will let the sprouts sit for 2 hours before quickly reheating and serving. This gives the flavours a chance to blend together. And then you have (as my husband said) the best brussel sprouts you’ve ever eaten!
This is a perfect holiday side dish. I served something similar to this for Christmas one year, along with venison.
* * *
- 1 kilo brussel sprouts
- 200 grams bacon (8 slices)
- 1 large shallot and 1 large garlic clove
- 25 g butter (2T)
- ¾ c orange juice
- 2 c bouillon (plus extra salt if needed)
- 2 T sugar
- 3 T sour cream
- Zest from one orange
- ¼ t pepper
- Wash brussel sprouts, remove stems, cut a cross into the base of the small ones, or cut the large ones in half.
- Fry the bacon, set aside and drain. Clean pan.
- Mince shallot and garlic, and fry in butter.
- Add the broth and orange juice, plus 1T sugar.
- Bring brussel sprouts to boil in liquid, then simmer for an hour.
- Cover for 10 minutes if still firm, turn heat up afterwards to remove rest of liquid.
- Add another T sugar, the pepper, sour cream, orange zest, and stir gently to make the sauce.
- Add the bacon last.
- Ideally, let sit for 1 to 2 hours before serving, then re-heat.