People love them or hate them: brussels sprouts. I remember as a kid biting into one for the first time and actually gagging. True story (and one that I have a feeling is not mine alone).
Over the years I have seen sprouts displayed and dressed up many ways – so much so that I actually began to take a liking to them. So I started trying my own little sprout ideas.
When I lived in London, I was going to celebrate the traditional American Thanksgiving with a bunch of my (non-American) friends. I asked everyone what the meal should not be without. To my amazement sprouts (and not too surprisingly Sticky Toffee Pudding) were the main suggestion.
The meal as a whole was very hearty, so I wanted the sprouts to truly stand out. So I figured – I’m going to buy a bunch of them and wing it (which actually works pretty damn good for me).
The best part about buying sprouts in the UK is that they are not only abundant but affordable! I went to make a large batch of these in the US and it cost me an arm and a leg.
Ok, first let’s shop. This time we’re feeding 4-6 people as a side dish (supposing that there will be another side to accompany it). It also works as a part of a larger meal with many options.
*One Bottle of Sauvignon Blanc (not for you to drink…HA)
*2 Sticks of Salted Butter
*Coarse Sea Salt (to taste)
*Fresh Black Pepper (to taste)
*4 Tablespoons minced garlic (pre-prepared or fresh)
*6 Cups of Brussells Sprouts (you can eyeball this as the weight can get confusing depending on the packaging)
*Dollop of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
*1/2 Cup Dried Bacon Pieces
The best place to get the sprouts inexpensively is a farmer’s market as grocery chains can overcharge for minuscule portions. Also, don’t get too cheap with the wine. A mid-range works fine.
Now let’s get cooking!
Prep is first. If you have to mince the garlic, you want to get that done first. Then onto the sprouts. This is where you may just start hating me a little. Get each of the sprouts and cut length-ways into quarter inch chunks. I’m sorry, but this will take some time….but the result is good, so stick with it.
Once that is complete melt the butter in a large wok (we be stir-frying), add the garlic, some salt, some pepper and let it simmer until the butter is fully melted. Then add half the bottle of wine. When that begins to boil, dump in the sprouts.
Now, the name of the game is reduction. We want to reduce the sprouts so that they have the texture of softly cooked cabbage. Keep them on medium heat and continually stir. This is where you can add more salt, pepper, wine to taste. I like to add a little bit of oil to round the taste, but it is up to you.
When they start falling apart and are cooked through – strain them gently, then put back into the wok. Turn on the heat top high, dump in the bacon, a smidge of olive oil and the sprouts and toss for a minute or so. Then put into your serving bowl and there you are!
The prep on this one is the only disaster. The flavor is absolutely unique and I will tell you, everyone will say that they now like sprouts!