Seasonal Eating: Brussels Sprouts
Long after the leaves have dropped and the north wind has turned chill, most gardeners can rely on one more beautiful plant to still be showing off its green foliage in the vegetable garden: Brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts aren’t afraid of the cold; they thrive in the cold. In truth, Brussels sprouts taste better after they have had a good frost. These bad boys can remain in the garden well into the winter. Snow won’t hurt them. As the temperatures dip, Brussels sprouts buds begin to swell, the leaves absorbing the frigid air as they finalize their transformation from the itty-bitty buds lined along the stem to tiny dark green cabbages that range in size from one inch to about three inches. This hardy, slightly bitter vegetable is rich in flavor, antioxidants, and vitamins, and is a welcome guest on the winter table.
Harvesting: To harvest Brussels sprouts, remove the sprouts by twisting them off the stem, one at a time. Once you have picked the sprouts, store them in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Nutrition: Nobody can deny that the lowly Brussels sprout plant is a top contender when it comes to vitamin content. Every mouthful of this super vegetable packs a little bit of beta carotene, calcium, folate, iron, lutein, magnesium, niacin, panthothenic acid, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamins A, B, C, E and K, and zinc, among other nutrients. Brussels sprouts taste great when roasted in the oven with other vegetables or cooked on the stovetop with onions and a little garlic. They’re also good steamed with butter. But if you’re in the market for a real treat, bake up a Brussels sprout pie.
Recipe: Brussels Sprout Pie
Double pie crust
½ cup chopped carrots
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped potatoes
½ cup chopped turnips or kohlrabi
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup chopped Brussels sprouts
1 small can cream of chicken soup
1 small can cream of celery soup
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon flour
1 ½ cups cooked chopped chicken
Sea salt and black pepper
Place one pie crust into the pie pan and set the second one aside. Steam the vegetables until tender. Meanwhile, pour the soup into a kettle and heat until bubbly. Mix the flour in with the milk and slowly stir it into the warm soup. Remove from the heat and add the vegetables and chicken. Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Salt and pepper. Using a cookie cutter, cut out a design in the second crust. Place the second crust on the pot pie and crimp the edges. Brush the top of the pie with milk or egg whites. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Recipe: Nutty Sprouts
2 pats butter
1 medium onion thinly sliced or chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 cups thinly sliced Brussels sprouts
½ cup chicken broth
½ tablespoon sugar
½ cup chopped pecans
Melt the butter in a medium cast iron skillet. Add the sliced onion and sauté.
Add the garlic and Brussels sprouts and cook for about five minutes, tossing it gently to prevent sticking. Add the chicken broth and sugar and mix well. Dump in the chopped nuts and sauté for two minutes on low heat. Salt and pepper or add a sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes for a little bit of heat.