Not everybody loves Brussels sprouts. But, unless you are overly sensitive to bitter flavors, you will find this to be a delicious side dish.
Brussels sprouts are the buds of a kind of cabbage belonging to the Brassica family (along with broccoli, cabbage, kale, turnip, and mustard). This vegetable has an inherent bitterness that constitutes a defense mechanism, but it can be minimized by first roasting it, and then stewing it. Roasting, in fact, adds flavor due to browning, but mostly allows the inside part of the Brussels sprouts (which is the part where the bitterness is the most intense) to reach an intermediate temperature (60 to 80 °C) which activates the enzymes responsible for the flavor generation. The enzymes’ activity stops when the temperature reaches 100 °C – if this temperature is reached too quickly (like when the vegetables are plunged into boiling water), the bitterness remains intense(1). After roasting, the Brussels sprouts can be stewed to complete the cooking. It’s important, however, not to overcook them since they otherwise develop a sulfur odor.
But enough of all of this theory! Let’s get on the recipe 🙂
(1) Harold McGee. On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. 2nd edition (2004).
- 300 g (10 oz) Brussels sprouts, trimmed and washed
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 small shallot, sliced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 splash of white wine
- ½ glass of vegetable stock
- Fry garlic and shallot in olive oil at medium heat for a couple of minutes.
- Add the Brussels sprouts, roast for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Add the wine and allow it to evaporate fully.
- Add the vegetable stock, cover and stew for 15 minutes at medium-low heat.