Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts

I did it! It took me over a year of squeezing in practices late in the evenings or as long back-to-back weekend sessions, but I finally passed my competency exam and am now a fully-trained “Online Counseling and Suicide Intervention Specialist”. I’m not sure how much of a “specialist” I am – I still feel very new to the whole field – but I’m very glad to finally get on with the volunteer work I set out to do so long ago.

I’m not sure if you remember my Sweet Potato & Turnip Mash w/ Sage Butter post (mmm, that was really good by the way…need to make that again soon…), but I explained there why I set out to join this non-profit organization in the first place. Their cause is still one very close to my heart and I am more excited now than ever before to be a part of such an amazing movement.

On a lighter note: this brussels sprouts recipe would normally have sparked no interest in me whatsoever if it hadn’t been for its original incarnation with chicken. Deb’s dijon chicken recipe is still an all-time favorite for us and has been gaining me more than a few fans at the office (where I’m known to trade food for programming help). Knowing just how powerful that scallion-mustard sauce is I figured the vegetarian version of the recipe should at least be given a chance. The success of my first ever brussels sprouts experience, Roasted Cauliflower with Shiitake and Sage, also gave me hope that these mini-veggies may not be the culinary horror they’re made out to be.

Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts (from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

1   lb.   brussels sprouts

1   T   unsalted butter

1   T   EVOO

½   C   dry white wine

1   C   low-sodium vegetable broth*

2-3   shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

2   T   heavy cream

1   T   smooth dijon mustard

2   T   fresh flat-leaf parsley chopped, optional

salt & pepper to taste

* Note: For additional flavor, non-vegetarians might want to use LS chicken broth instead.

Procedure:

1) Wash and trim sprouts, then halve lengthwise. In a large heavy pan heat oil and butter over Medium heat then add the sprouts cut-side down in a single layer (brown in batches if necessary). Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and then cook sprouts without turning until bottoms are golden brown – about 5 minutes.

2) Once the sprouts have been browned (add them all back into the pan if working in batches) add stock, shallots, and wine to the pan and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce heat to Medium-low or Low – the lowest heat you can manage and still maintain a gentle simmer – and cover the pan with a lid or foil. Cook sprouts for 10-15 minutes or until they are tender, but not mushy.

3) Remove lid (or foil), gently scoop out sprouts, and add cream to simmer for a few minutes to slightly thicken. Whisk in mustard until smooth. Do a taste test and add more seasoning or mustard as you prefer. Pour sauce over sprouts, sprinkle with parsley (if using) and serve immediately. Will serve 4 as side dish or 2 as main course.

Beezer’s Notes:

I think I say this for every Smitten Kitchen recipe, but Deb definitely knows what she’s doing! I cannot wait until her cookbook comes out – even if I have to catch a train back to the States to buy a copy. Speaking of her cookbook, Deb mentioned that she perfected this recipe too late for its inclusion. I’m very glad she still shared it on her blog because it really is “the cabbage equivalent of our favorite chicken dish”: the sauce is spot-on and has a zing that brightens up the earthy sprouts. I think I simmered my sprouts a tad too strongly because the smaller halves bordered on mushy, but most of them struck the perfect combo of tender yet toothsome. The chicken version of this dish is still my favorite I have to admit. Still, if you’re looking for a vegetarian version, are trying to mix things up a bit, or maybe just convince yourself (or kids, or spouse) that brussels sprouts really can be delicious then this is the dish for you.

Overall Enjoyment:   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

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