Cream Braised Brussles Sprouts

brussels 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.

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.

brussels sprouts

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.

brussels sprouts

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.

This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

9 Comments

  1. Posted May 5, 2009 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Yum! That sounds like the best possible way to eat brussel sprouts. My mum used to put bacon with broccoli or chokos, but brussel sprouts are another perfect candidate we didn’t think of.

    Arwen from Hoglet K’s last blog post..MuMu Grill

  2. BiscuitJones
    Posted May 5, 2009 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I love Brussels Sprouts cooked this way, though I usually use chopped pecans, garlic and cream. Gotta try with pancetta or crisped bacon.

    I agree this is the best way to prepare them. Although how many things can you think of that would be BAD braised in cream?

  3. Posted May 6, 2009 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    If you didn’t mention the cream, I wouldn’t have thought any cream was involved with this recipe.

    I’m still somewhat iffy about the brussel sprouts as I’ve had too many bad ones in my time (actually, can’t recall any good ones). If I ever happen on a bag of brussel sprouts that I can’t regift, I’ll give this a look in :)

  4. Posted May 6, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Brussel sprouts have a stigma don’t they… My brussel sprout success ratio is about 50/50, but yours look lovely – cream fixes so many things!

    Miss Honey’s last blog post..Cru54, Surry Hills

  5. Posted May 6, 2009 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    Hmm looks very nice – I’m not particularly too fond of brussel sprouts much as a main ingredient, but your pictures made me want some!

    Yas’s last blog post..Oh spam filter that was.

  6. Posted May 7, 2009 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Your post comes in perfect timing for me! I have a bit of an obsession with brussel sprouts – knew every other kid hated them, my parents don’t like them and thus refused to buy them and cook them. Every time I try to cook them, I must admit they’re not great but I keep trying to find something to like in them. Gotta give this recipe a go!

    Forager’s last blog post..Charlotte Cafe, the local’s secret

  7. Posted May 7, 2009 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    I’ve only just started liking these things, but I must put bacon in them :/

  8. Posted May 16, 2009 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Arwen: Oh, bacon would totally jazz up chokoes, and by ‘jazz up’, I really mean ‘make them taste like something, anything’. This is a pretty awesome brussels sprouts recipe.

    BiscuitJones : Agreed! I would never have thought to add pecans to this dish, but what a great textural play.

    Simon: Yeah, all the cream sort of boils down and is absorbed by the brussels, though there is a little sauce. Hey if you don’t like them, you don’t like them – don’t choke them down in an attempt to change, though do always give them another chance.

    Miss Honey: Cream is a wonderous ingredient. I have had my brussels sprouts successes and failures, thats for sure.

    Yas: Oh good!

    Forager: Do it! Though, I don’t pine for brussels sprouts, though I would make this again (hell, i’ve already made it a few times :) )

    Howard: Me too!

  9. Posted May 4, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Been eating them for years and here’s a few hints:
    - clean them… remove all the dark green coloured leaves(this is the big deal as those have all the not-sweet flavours concentrated)
    - cut them in half(so that while steaming they’ll release all that sweet goodnes from the middle)
    - melt some butter, put them on it, reduce heat, cover – basically steam them on butter(a bit of water but don’t overdo it)… salt to taste… any other seasonings to taste. I tend to give a bit of garlic powder but beyond that… why would I ruin their already sweet taste.

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  1. [...] know it if you saw me inhaling the garlic mushrooms at a Tapas bar. I also turned my nose up at Brussels Sprouts until very recently and now I can’t get enough of the little cabbagy delights. As children, [...]

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