Sunday, April 5, 2009

Creamy Braised Brussel Sprouts

Emile Durkheim argued that a certain amount of deviance is necessary for the functioning of a healthy society. He thought that order in society needs people to accept social norms, and this in turn requires a certain amount of deviants flouting these norms. Hence, criminals, hipsters, and Vermont. Something like Durkheim's theory had seemed to me the only way to explain the fact that some people incurably and perversely say they enjoy brussel sprouts. These are, of course, invariably nasty crap. However, recently, I have discovered that brussel sprouts are not intrinsically wrong. They merely have the potential for great evil. If you braise them in cream they are actually rather tasty. I also wonder if Durkheim's views of society would have been the same if he had fully reflected on cream's ameliorating influence on just about anything.


1 pound Brussel Sprouts
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 lemon
Coarse salt
Freshly ground white pepper (cooking black pepper in a liquid for too long is meant to make it bitter)

1. Trim the brussel sprouts: cut off base and peel any ragged outer leaves.
2. Cut brussel sprouts into halves, or thirds if they are big.
3. Brown the brussel sprouts: in a large skillet, melt the butter on medium-high heat until it stops foaming, and then add the sprouts and season with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until sprouts are golden and brown in spots, about 5 minutes.
4. Pour the cream into the skillet, stir, cover and reduce to a slow simmer. Braise until sprouts are tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a sharp knife, 30 to 35 minutes.
5. Finish by stirring in a generous squeeze of lemon juice, and adjust seasonings to taste. Simmer uncovered for a few minutes to thicken the cream.

This is from Molly Steven's book "All About Braising", which Alejandro recommended to me, and I can't recommend enough.

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