We're in the thick of winter (despite a reading of 57 on the thermometer two days ago...), and I'm desperately resisting the urge to make chicken pot pie and chili and lasagna every night of the week. My taste buds would thank me, but my hips would tell no lies about what I'd been eating, especially when I'm choosing nesting on the couch over 20 more minutes at the gym. I'm looking forward to a tax return shopping trip for some new, not enlarged, threads, thankyouverymuch. And something had to give.
Balancing out the comfort foods and the healthier but sometimes less exciting meals is something we all must do. Roasting chickens and pork chops were on crazy BOGO sale last week, so I already had my protein covered for most meals this week. What to do for the side dishes, I thought. I was so tempted to just throw a pat of butter in with some carrots or melt cheddar cheese atop broccoli and call it dinner -- because, it's easy! -- but where would the fun and challenge be in that?
Like I've said before, sides can be the star!
With a serious hankering for Brussels sprouts, I stumbled upon a hoppin' recipe that called for caramelizing the little green fellas. Caramelizing onions, yes, but Brussels sprouts? Was this chick messing with me?
Nope, definitely not. Instead, that chick opened my eyes to a whole new way to prepare sprouts. Boiling is so utterly boring I can barely stand to type about it, and while I love roasting 'em, that's so 2011. Caramelized Brussels sprout are where it's at, folks!
Sweet, crunchy, hearty, and maaaaaaybe just a little bit drunk! One bite and I was all, "Brown sugar and Brussels sprouts for the win!" I have a feeling that there would be many more happy sprouts lovers and clean plates if this kind of side dish were showcased at the dinner table. Try it yourself and see what happens. It's magic!
Two years ago: Ditch gym boredom
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
(adapted slightly from Eat, Live, Run, who adapted it from 101 Cookbooks)
-serves 2-4 as a side dish
12-14 large Brussels sprouts
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
Splash of white wine
Toasted chopped walnuts or dried cranberries, optional
Slice each sprout very thin until you have a mound of green ribbons. Heat the olive oil over medium high in a large skillet and saute the garlic for 30 seconds. Add the sprouts and continue sauteing for another 4-5 minutes, until bright green and tender. Add a splash or two of white wine to deglaze the pan and loosen up those yummy brown bits at the bottom of it. Add the sea salt and brown sugar and toss together. Remove from heat and finish by adding the toasted nuts or cranberries, if using. Serve immediately.