Monday, December 21, 2009

Brussels Sprouts

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Maple, Mustard, and Pecans

I love the fall and winter for the abundance of produce available. There are so many combinations of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains that the weather turns warm again before I run out of ideas!

In the last few years I've re-discovered Brussels sprouts. When I was growing up, my mom loved Brussels sprouts but boiled them to death, so I only knew them as army-green balls of nastiness. Because of that, I avoided them for a long time, until I had them browned instead of boiled. Caramelizing the Brussels sprouts brings out the natural sweetness and cooking for a shorter period of time reduces the amount of sulfur compounds released and increases the amount of vitamins retained during cooking. Since Brussels sprouts are a member of the cabbage family, they benefit from similar treatments.

An easy way to try out Brussels sprouts on those who are uncertain about them is to shred them. I clean and trim the sprouts and run them through the slicing blade on the food processor. In one of my favorite recipes, I like to pair what I think of as "typical" fall flavors with Brussels sprouts, so I add mustard, pecans, and a touch of maple syrup. The mustard also compliments the sprouts as they are in the same biological family (Brassica).

Brussels Sprouts with Maple, Mustard, and Pecans

2 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup white wine or vegetable broth
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp whole grain mustard
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted
Salt and pepper to taste

Shred sprouts using the slicing blade of a food processor. This can also be done by hand using a very sharp knife. Add sprouts, olive oil, white wine, and thyme to a non-stick pan with a lid. Turn heat to medium, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove lid and turn heat to medium high. Cook for 5-10 more minutes, stirring infrequently, to allow the sprouts to brown and caramelize. Stir in remaining ingredients and heat through, adding salt and pepper to taste.

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