Cream Braised Brussles Sprouts
I am not sure if it is possible to miss something that you haven’t experiences, but nevertheless I mourn ramps. Living in ramp-free Australia and never having even tasted them I feel as though I’m missing out. I know I missing out. Just to rub it in ramps are Spring vegetables, so the stories I’ve been reading about them are filled with stories of new shoots and sunny lengthening days, when we are experiencing the opposite here.
So I have decided to get over my ramp-envy and embrace Autumn, with Brussels Sprouts.
My previous experiences with this oft maligned vegetable have been disappointing, soggy and bland, though maybe because I only ever seem to eat them at Christmas-time, out of season and never at their best. So I knew I had to give them another shot when they were on sale at my greengrocer, pre-bagged for $3 a kilo. These baby cabbages are tightly wound and wonderfully fresh and they soften to delicate earthy morsels when cooked just enough.
My first few attempts at cooking brussels sprouts reminded me why I previously didn’t like them. They were the reincarnated ghosts of brussels sprouts past. The problem? Not cooked enough, cooked a little too much. I tried a few different recipes, and determined that braising is the way to do it. With cream. And salty crisp pancetta. Until just tender.
If all you have to work with in a ramp-less land are brussels sprouts, I have one piece of advice - Braise them in cream.
Cream Braised Brussels Sprouts
Adapted from the lovely Cream-braised brussels Sprouts recipe from Orangette
750g Brussles Sprouts,
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
50g pancetta, sliced
2/3 cup cream
2t lemon juice
salt and pepper
Wash the brussels sprouts and trim the base and the outer dark green leaves off. Cut into halves or quarters and set aside.
Heat a fry pan over medium heat and add the pancetta, cooking slowly, stirring occasionally until the fat has rendered out and the rendered and it has crisped. Add the brussels sprouts and fry for a few minutes so that the occasional side browns. These browned bits will become lovely and sweet.
Add the cream, garlic and season with salt and pepper. Stir and cover. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, and cook for 20 – 30 minutes until the brussels sprouts are tender and the cream has reduced and thickened. Season with lemon juice and salt and pepper and plate and serve.