These are called Brussels sprouts, and unless you had some especially mean parents growing up, this might be your first time together. Even I, who had been force-fed green beans for the first 10 years of my life, never had to touch them because my dad hated them so much. I don't think I'm the only one. I've never seen them on a menu, and have never been confronted with them at a friends house. And for most of my adult life I've been fine with my non-existent relationship with Brussels sprouts, content to let them torment cartoon characters and poor children from England until yesterday, when for some unknowable reason, I bought a pound of them.
And not the baby sprouts which everyone is scarfing down like exotic truffles, but the big, cricket-ball sized ones that apparently leak sulfur gases into the room if cooked a minute too long, the ones that have been the scourge of children for ages.
Why would I do such a thing?
Well just look at them. They are neon green, look like mini-cabbages, and were very cheap. Mostly, I wanted the satisfaction of turning a vegetable that I so intrinsically hated for no apparent reason into a feast of garden goodness that I'd be willing to serve to guests without fear of being ridiculed.
I pulled no punches for my first time. They brewed in bacon fat and white wine, which probably canceled all the health benefits of actually eating the small buggers, but filled the room with a glorious smell that seeped into my nostrils and had me excited for my first bite.
What was the verdict? Not particularly good. They certainly weren't the sulfuric beasts that have haunted children for ages. But mine tasted a little like cabbage and a lot like nothing particular. Maybe the smells had triggered an expectation that couldn't be fulfilled, but didn't trap any of the goodness that I had wanted. There has to be a better way.
- 1 pound of Brussels sprouts
- 1/4 pound bacon
- 1/2 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup of white wine
- 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock
Adapted from Leite's Culinaria .
Cut up the bacon into small strips.
Saute them over medium heat until they have become crisp, about 5 minutes, then dump in the minced onion and garlic and saute for another 5.
Dump in a wonderful Riesling.
Turn the heat to high and cook until it has reduced until most of the liquid has evaporated. Then pour in the chicken stock and the lovely sprouts.
Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes.Bacon, Brussels Sprouts, Pork, Vegetables, White Wine, Wine