Thursday, November 29, 2012

Uncle Bori's Brussels Sprouts

I was discharged from the hospital after my recent bout of cellulitis (again) with the admonition to follow a "heart healthy" diet.  Please.  The reality is that most of my eating is reasonable.  I have oatmeal every morning (so good for fiber and cholesterol).  I drink nonfat milk.  I eat lots of raw nuts (not roasted or salted) and dried fruits (all that fiber, natural sugars, and antioxidants).  I use far less salt than I did when young, though I should never come near French fries where I am quite naughty.  I do not eat much red meat, tending toward lean pork and chicken without the skin.  I cook with olive oil.  I rarely use prepared foods as I like to know every item that goes into my cooking.

But I do cook with real butter and lots of it and I make sauces with heavy cream.  The cream is not something I use that often but the butter, well, I am half Swedish and the motto of Swedish cooking is "Smör och kärlek."  It translates as "butter and love" (in that order).

Winter is upon us and what could be more warming than Brussels sprouts in a cream sauce.  So here it is, something I have improvised and made several times.  It tastes really good and the hospital dieticians would freak.  I use some technical cooking terms here but you will easily figure them out.

I start with a package of Brussels sprouts.  It is best to cook them right away as they can spoil quickly.  I trim them ruthlessly, trimming stems and outer leaves and anything that looks yucky or proto-yucky.  See, technical terms.  The photo above is the trimmings which can equal the savings in volume.

 These are the trimmed sprouts.  I also halve them.  I don't think it makes any difference to cooking, though there are elaborate theories about this.  It does make it easier to absorb sauce, which is the whole point of this dish.

I rinse the sprouts, put them in a dish, cover with plastic film, and microwave for three minutes.  This is so much easier than parboiling.

 Meanwhile I need some chicken broth.  Not a lot, so the easy way is to use some Better Than Bouillon and about half a cup of water.  When the sprouts are microwaved I put the base and water mixture in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds, then stir.

 Now for a quick roux: equal amounts of butter and flour stirred until it starts to brown.

 Add the chicken broth mix and some heavy cream and a buttload of dill.  That's another technical term.  You may use any herb you prefer.  As you can see, I use lots.

Stir constantly as this thickens.  I add some sea salt and white pepper.

 Add the Brussels sprouts and keep stirring on high heat as the sauce continues to thicken and coat the sprouts.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

The end result is rich and yummy.  Those who don't care for Brussels sprouts might convert over this.

I did not make this for tonight but put it in plastic containers that will go in the freezer when they cool down a bit.  I promised some to a coworker who really liked this when I made it last winter.  My lunches will be iniquitous but oh so good.


--the BB