Side Dishes/ Vegetables

Braised Brussels Sprouts with Carrot and Yellow Pepper

brussels sprouts with carrot and yellow pepper in a green bowl on a green cloth

I always hated eating Brussels Sprouts when I was a child. My mother boiled frozen Brussels sprouts until they were mushy, then dumped margarine on them. By the time I got around to eating them, the margarine had congealed into a yellowish ooze coating the over-salted, bitter-tasting sprouts. Blech.

Once I discovered the pleasure of fresh Brussels sprouts, my attitude towards this mini-cabbage-shaped vegetable changed completely. When fresh and not overcooked, Brussels sprouts have a sweet, nutty taste that’s divine. It’s the taste of fall, and I can’t get enough of them. I buy them at my local farmer’s market on the stalk with a bushy bunch of leaves at the top, and I cook both the sprouts and the leaves (see NOTE 1 below).

My favorite way to cook Brussels sprouts is by braising them, usually in chicken broth, but you can also use water, or wine or even orange juice, if you don’t mind all the extra sugar. I mix it up, but my preference is to use homemade chicken broth (see NOTE 2 below).

This recipe combines the sweetness of caramelized red onions and carrots with the slight tang of yellow peppers, all of which complement the bittersweet sprout. Braising–cooking the sprouts slowly in a small amount of liquid–brings out the sweetness in this finicky vegetable.

If you can’t find fresh yellow peppers, frozen will work equally well, as will orange peppers. Green peppers will overpower the delicate flavor of this dish.

Braised Brussels Sprouts with Carrot and Yellow Pepper

Serves: 4-6
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Braising brings out the sweet flavor of Brussels sprouts, a persnickety vegetable that becomes mushy and bitter when overcooked. Caramelized carrots and red onions combine with the mild tartness of yellow peppers to compliment the nutty flavor of the braised Brussels sprouts.

Ingredients

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, very thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1/8" slices
  • 1 large yellow pepper, cored and chopped
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1/8 t pepper
  • 1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth

Instructions

1

Heat the oils on medium heat in a lidded skillet large enough to hold the Brussels sprouts.

2

Add the carrot, spreading the slices flat on the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook gently for 5-7 minutes until they are a deep orange color.

3

Add the onion, stir to coat with oil, sprinkle with half the salt and pepper, and cook until just beginning to brown.

4

Add the garlic, stir and cook for 1-2 minutes until the garlic softens.

5

Add the Brussels sprouts and the rest of the salt and pepper.

6

Turn the heat to medium high and saute for 1 minute until the sprouts are bright green and coated with oil.

7

Add the chicken broth, cover and bring to a boil, then immediately turn the heat down to a low simmer.

8

Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes so the sprouts cook evenly.

9

Poke sprouts with a fork to test for doneness. They should be firm, not hard or mushy.

Notes

NOTE 1: If you are so lucky as to find stalks of Brussels sprouts in your local store or farmer's market, chose ones with a full head of leaves at the top! Brussels sprouts leaves are delicious sliced into thin strips (remove the white fibrous stalks), saut├ęd for a few minutes in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Serve them right out of the pan for a delicious, nutritious snack. NOTE 2: Make your own chicken broth by saving chicken carcasses in a plastic bag in the freezer. When you have three or four, toss them (herbs and all) into a large pot, cover them with filtered water, bring it to a boil, turn the heat down to a low simmer and cook, uncovered, for 3-4 hours. Skim any scum that rises to the surface, cool, strain into jars (I use old applesauce jars) and store in the freezer for a ready supply of homemade chicken broth.

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