Oh my, what heat and cream don’t do for Brussels sprouts
Today’s Thanksgiving recipe idea: A simple gratin of fresh Brussels sprouts, first roasted, then braised in cream, then finished under the broiler.
Oh. My. MY.
What heat and cream don’t do for baby cabbages. In fact, this might be my new most-favorite way to cook Brussels sprouts, simple and decadent both at once. The sprouts are elevated to a whole new experience, perfect for special occasions.
And they couldn’t be easier to make, so for anyone who has room for the calories, this is a great recipe for everyday, too.
DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T LIKE BRUSSELS SPROUTS? Not everyone likes Brussels sprouts. But the reason may not be about ‘picky eating’ — but instead about chemicals called glucosinolates. If someone in your family is hesitant, resistant or outright militantly in opposition to Brussels sprouts, know that the trick is to break up the center of the sprouts by cutting them in half and then, to leach out the chemicals, to cook them in a lot of well-salted water.
CREAMY BRUSSELS SPROUTS GRATIN
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 60 minutes
2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, stem ends sliced off, outer layer of leaves removed, sprouts halved lengthwise through the core
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted in the microwave in 10-second increments
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup panko
1/4 ounce fresh Parmesan, grated
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 425F. Toss the Brussels sprouts with the butter, salt and pepper. Arrange in a shallow baking dish just large enough for a generous single layer. (The sprouts do shrink while roasting so some overlap is good.) Roast for about 35 minutes (stirring well after 15, 25 and 35 minutes) until the sprouts are very nearly cooked through and brown in spots. Pour the cream over top and return to the oven for 5 – 10 minutes (stirring after 5 and 10 minutes) until cream thickens, coats the Brussels sprouts and darkens slightly. Remove from oven, switch oven to the broiler.
Mix topping ingredients and spread evenly over top. Place under broiler for 5 – 10 minutes until topping turns crisp and golden.
TO PREP AHEAD
DAY BEFORE Mix the topping ingredients.
MORNING OF Prep the Brussels sprouts, toss with butter, salt and pepper.
BEFORE DINNER Roast and finish.
NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving: 207Cal; 14g Tot Fat; 9g Sat Fat; 49mg Cholesterol; 320mg Sodium; 16g Carb; 5g Fiber; 3g Sugar; 6g Protein; Weight Watchers 4 points (technically 4.5 points)TODAY’S VEGETABLE RECIPE INSPIRATION
Adapted from a 2007 seasonal publication from Fine Cooking. This issue features all side dishes but if there’s another this year, based on this one, I would much recommend it.
I don’t recommend using frozen Brussels sprouts for this recipe.
Choose Brussels sprouts of any size for this recipe. That said, do make sure that all the Brussels sprouts are roughly equivalent in size. In addition, smaller Brussels sprouts will cook somewhat faster. If what you find are large, you might consider quartering rather than halving.
Note: If you or your Thanksgiving guests are watching carbs, skip the topping. It’s largely a superfluous finish, though does offer some small texture contrast too.
To reduce the calories, you might try half ‘n’ half (half cream, half milk) but I don’t recommend using fat-free half ‘n’ half, as it doesn’t seem to have thickening properties.
By accident, I learned that these Brussels sprouts are very forgiving. They were already cooked when I popped them into the oven to reheat for a few minutes. Instead, they were in the oven for nearly an hour and emerged looking completely burned and inedible. Instead, the cream had just turned very dark, the Brussels sprouts had turned into soft bites of amazing flavor.