Recipe of the Month
Thanksgiving is coming, and if you are as ambitious on your side dishes as Miró Quartet violist John Largess is, I bet your guests will adore his Braised Brussels Sprouts recipe:
John Largess’ Braised Brussels Sprouts
Note: try to get sprouts that are fairly uniform in size, otherwise the big ones will be crunchy and the small ones mushy. If necessary you can quarter very large sprouts.
2 pounds of Brussels Sprouts, woody bases trimmed off and cut in half through the poles
5 slices hickory smoked bacon
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tsp dried thyme, crushed fine
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine (anything really, just not an oaky white. Left over Pinot Grigio is a good choice)
4 tbs Maple Syrup (ideally a dark grade B syrup)
1 tsp Thai Fish sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1) Fry the bacon until well done in a large flat bottomed pan. Remove from grease to paper towel-lined plate to crisp.
2) Fry onion in bacon grease until soft and lightly brown, about 5 minutes on medium heat
3) Add halved Brussels Sprouts to pan, cut side down, fry 5 minutes on medium until sides begin to brown. Add chopped garlic, nutmeg, and dried thyme, fry for 30 seconds until just aromatic...do not burn!!
4) Add the stock, wine, fish sauce, and maple syrup, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes until Brussels Sprouts are just tender (not mushy!). The time will vary depending on how big your sprouts are. After 15 minutes, start testing with a knife every 5 minutes - it should go through the sprout with a bit of resistance but not with any “crunch.” Keep heat low and the cover on tight so liquid doesn’t boil away. If it does, just lower heat and add more stock.
5) Once sprouts are tender they are done! Add salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a serving tureen. Chop the crisp bacon into small crumbles and sprinkle on top, garnish with fresh thyme sprigs if desired.
Note: the moisture content of the sprouts you buy can vary considerably, sometimes dry and sometimes fresher and wetter. Occasionally, when the sprouts are done, sauce is still too watery for my taste. If so, remove sprouts with slotted spoon to serving tureen, turn heat to high, and boil to reduce sauce, about 2-5 minutes. Pour reduced sauce over sprouts and garnish as above.