One of the cooking skills I’m currently working on mastering is the delicate, elusive art of having multiple separate dishes ready at the same time. So far, no amount of advance planning or careful timing has been able to make this magic reliably happen. But one night last week, hallelujah! I had a protein, starch, and vegetable dish all finished within moments of one another. The gods of dinner were smiling on me and my humming little kitchen.
That is, they smiled on my timing. They did not so much smile on my food. Of the three dishes that were ready at the same time, only one was so rapturously good that I felt compelled to write about it here, because it is the kind of dish that will make your life better: cream-braised brussels sprouts.
Yes, I wrote about brussels sprouts just a couple of posts ago, and I swore up and down that fried brussels sprouts were the best thing ever. They’re still the best thing ever, but now they need to share that pedestal with cream-braised brussels sprouts. If fried brussels are like french fries, cream-braised brussels are like a lobster bisque—silky and voluptuous, a thing of utter luxury. But unlike lobster, brussels sprouts aren’t actually a luxury. You can have these any time. And well you should.
1 1/4 lb Brussels sprouts
1 finely sliced leek
1 sliced shallot
3 Tbs unsalted butter
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
Trim the stem end of each sprout and discard any brown or rotting leaves. Cut the sprouts into quarters and set aside. Carefully clean the leek and slice it discarding the stringy, green part.
In a cocotte, or a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts, the leek, and the shallot, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are nicely browned in spots, about 5 minutes or so.
Pour in the cream, stir to mix, and then cover the pot. Reduce the heat to low or medium low so there’s a slow simmer. Braise until the sprouts are tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a paring knife, about 30-35 minutes.
Remove the lid, and stir in the lemon juice. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary. Let the pan simmer, uncovered, for a minute or two to thicken the cream to a glaze that loosely coats the sprouts.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings