Brussels sprouts are the cabbage-y butt of kids jokes. They can smell horrendous while cooking, and can be an acquired taste for even the most worldly eaters.
My son even received a children’s book in which the superhero protagonist finds that the sprouts are his kryptonite and super “YUCK”. (A book which I edit to read that he cannot resist devouring the YUMMY green globes!)
Fun fact- my kid loves brussels sprouts. (Yeah, that was a mom brag. Hmph.)
Of course, those in the culinary-know are fully aware of how incredible these delicious goodies actually are. They can be deeply rich in flavor and they can perfectly play a leading role in a meal. We’re in the know, and better for it.
In line with this blog’s theme, I love to elevate the grandmotherly staples to fit my life. The steamed brussels of Geraldine and Virginia’s generation just won’t cut it. For years, I have simply tossed them in olive oil with pepper and salt and roasted these babies in a high heat oven, a perfectly delicious method. But sometimes I want a little more. Oh yeah, there are plenty of recipes for brussels sprouts using the ubiquitous piggy crutch of the kitchen- bacon. And I do love a bacony brussel. Don’t get me wrong. But I was in the mood for something else.
I bought some brussels a week ago at Costco, assuming they’d go alongside a roast chicken some night. That night came and the chicken was eaten with a different side. The sprouts continued to sit alone in the fridge, waiting. They kept getting pushed aside and didn’t go along with us on our weekend to the cabin. They didn’t seem to work with any of the other main dishes I had planned recently. So, after the purchase of some lovely tuna steaks yesterday, I said “no matter what, we’re going to eat those Brussels sprouts”.
On a whim I picked up some crumbled goat cheese while I was buying the tuna steaks. It looked good. Once again, another ingredient purchase with nary a plan.
I need to stop doing that.
Once I accepted that dinner did, in fact, have to be cooked tonight. I got busy formulating a plan. I grabbed the brussels, some dates from the pantry, an onion, and a bottle of white wine in the fridge, and then set to work, while keeping my eye on that crumbled goat cheese.
These brussels sprouts are cooked in wine while covered to steam and soften up. They’re finished by removing the lid to let the liquid from the wine evaporate, leaving only the perfect brightness behind, while crisping up the edges of the sprouts in the pan.
The dish is finished with a sprinkle of the perfectly cooling and mildly tangy goat cheese. It melds perfectly with the depth of flavor in the brussels sprouts, sweetness from the dates and onions, and creates a perfectly balanced dish. One of those that stands perfectly on its own in a big bowl or alongside a delightfully simple protein preparation. (In this case simple and well seasoned seared and perfectly rare tuna steaks.)
It was a really good dish.
Welcome to the other side. We’re in the know about what’s good over here.
(Keep reading for the recipe.)
Brussels Sprouts with Dates and Goat Cheese
1/4 Cup olive oil
1 large onions (diced)
2 Pounds brussels sprouts (washed and quartered)
20 pitted dates (roughly chopped)
1 Cup white wine (low sodium chicken or vegetable broth can be substituted)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
6 ounces crumbled goat cheese
Preheat a large Dutch oven (one with a lid) on high heat. Add diced onions and cook until translucent. Add quartered brussels sprouts and chopped dates and a generous pinch of salt to pan. Mix ingredients together to thoroughly coat the sprouts with the oil. Add the white wine and cover the pot. Allow sprouts to steam on medium high heat for 20 minutes. Until the brussels are fork tender. remove the lid and raise heat to high. Add butter and allow to melt- stirring to coat the ingredients. Cook on high heat for 10-15 minutes so that the wine liquid can evaporate and the brussels sprouts can begin to turn golden brown. Stir occasionally, but not too often, this will allow the brussels sprouts to form the golden brown crust. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Place in serving bowl and top with the crumbled goat cheese.