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Looking for a New Green to Serve at Your Holiday Table? Try These Tasty Brussels Sprouts?
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The Battle of the Bitter Balls
For several years after we married, my husband and I had a running "battle" (think of it like battle of the bands) over a certain side dish during the holidays. It was the ever present "green" side dish. The perennial stand-by at most holiday tables is the green bean casserole. And, in fairness there are probably as many different recipes for green bean casserole as there are families. I happen to make one of the best green bean casseroles you'll lay your lips on - but, that's a different story.
Or course, there are just regular green beans and English peas that work their way into many holiday meals. But, that green side dish can be a problem - a boring, yucky problem.
The holiday battle in our house was over what I called bitter balls. Care to take a guess? No? Let me help you out here - Brussels Sprouts. Those seemingly harmless, innocent, little tiny, baby cabbage like vegetables.
Now the weird thing is I love cabbage. Honestly! Not even the aroma of cooking cabbage wafting through the house deters my fondness for the vegetable. It's a good thing too because cabbage is one of those "good for you foods".
But, Brussels Sprouts? Auck! To me they tasted like chewing a non-chewable multivitamin and let me tell you - those things are pretty vile and bitter when taken improperly. Don't ask me how I know.
My husband on the other hand loves Brussels Sprout. No, really, he LOVES them. Get the picture?
So after a while, I decided to be a cooperative team player and try different recipes. Many, different recipes in fact. Results? Epic failure. Vile, bitter little cabbages waiting to grow up and become real cabbage took revenge on my palate.
So that's how the holiday green dish battle went for several years - until I went on a quest for the perfect recipe and hit eureka.
I can almost promise this is one Brussels Sprouts dish that will be eaten at you house. I know this because I will eat it - and enjoy it.
Fresh Brussels Sprouts Home From the Market
Brussels Sprout's - A Great Little Super Food
So why did I go on my "bitter ball" quest?
Well, I knew not all recipes are created equal and hopefully sooner than later I would develop one that would sway me, the harshest Brussels Sprout critic, into becoming a fan. It was also done in the name of love - and health.
What better reasons?
Most notably, Brussels Sprouts are packed with cancer fighting, naturally occurring agents. That's pretty important to a two time non-smoking lung cancer survivor like me.
Glucosinolate is an important phytonutrient. Think of glucosinolates and phytonutrients as little chemicals factories within our bodies that are naturally occurring chemical production lines for cancer fighting compounds. We normally associate foods like broccoli, mustard greens, turnips, kale and cabbage as sources of these healthy compounds. So, you may be surprised to discover Brussels Sprouts actually tops the list of cruciferous vegetables in not only how they provide these compounds, but, also in the quantity of compounds provided. In other words, these little green jewels pack a healthy punch. They also help detox the body's systems, reduce inflammation and provided antioxidants. Tagging along is an excellent round up of vitamins and minerals.
So, health factors and to delight the heart of my heart were the impetus of my quest.
Health Nutrients found in 1 cup (88 grams) of raw Brussels Sprouts
% Daily Value
Omega 3 - fats
Trial and Error developing the perfect recipe for Brussels Sprouts
It took trial and error and many attempts before I finally landed on the recipe that would become the signature Burch house Brussels Sprouts recipe. Inspiration came from different places, but when the dust cleared, it just boiled down to using some of my favorite ingredients - and it worked. The payoff was big.
There is one little special secret I've been saving until last. This recipe cooks in the crock pot, therefore freeing up much needed stove top space for other holiday cooking.
Just a note on maple syrup, a key ingredient in this recipe. You may find maple syrup in Grade A and Grade B. Grade A has three sub - grades: Light Amber, Medium Amber and Dark Amber. Grade B is the darkest amber. Both grades are considered usable for table consumption. Usually Grade A is what we find served at tables with our pancakes and waffles. Grade B is used a lot in cooking, but it's preferred by some people for their pancakes and waffles. It's just a matter of personal preference.
Grade a Vermont Maple Syrup
Dijon - Maple Brussels Sprouts with Golden Raisins
- 2 pounds fresh Brussels Sprouts, cut in half
- 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 6 tablespoons butter, cut into several pieces
- 6 tablespoons REAL maple syrup
- 6 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- Wash Brussels Sprouts and trim the stem. Cut larger sprouts in quarters and smaller ones in half. Place in your crock pot.
- Add minced garlic and butter and toss to evenly distribute.
- Combine together Dijon Mustard, maple syrup, low sodium chicken broth, kosher salt and pepper. Mix well and pour over Brussels Sprouts. Toss to coat all ingredients. Add golden raisin and toss again to make sure all ingredients are coated.
- Cover crock pot and cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours. Stir occasionally. Stir again right before serving. Enjoy!!
Crock Pot - good for pot luck and parties
Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts
© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch