Many things don't make any sense to me.
Directionals (as in North, South, West and East).
Trooper's Raise A Little Hell used to sell saltines*.
The apparently 6'3" non-cook who designed my kitchen.
Dan Brown's literary career.
For years I never understood how people can *not* like Brussels sprouts (or brussel sprouts). I mean really. They're cute and leafy. They're teeny little cabbages that grow on sticks...and we all know foods on sticks aren't just fun, but they taste better.
The first time I had Brussels sprouts they were curried--very simply done--lightly steamed and then sauteed with onions and masala. How anyone could not like that was unthinkable. A bowlful of those spicey sphere-ishes and I'd be as happy as Beanie with a turkey leg. I thought everybody liked Brussel sprouts.
Then I started hearing stories about slimey concoctions whose funk would make a grizzly bear in heat reach for the Febreeze. Tales about the little tiny cabbages boiled for an hour or so were enough to send me screaming out of a room in the same way as I would should Celine Dion magically appear, offering to sing me any stanza from her screechy songbook.
Who would ever treat such vegetably emeralds with such disdain?
When the exbf told me that one of his online followers uploaded a post about beautiful green orbs that beckoned him/her at the grocer...and then taunted him/her in the fridge because...well...he/she doesn't actually like Brussels sprouts, I knew I had to upload this post sooner rather than later.
This is the "You know, I usually don't like Brussels sprouts, but I love these Brussels sprouts" dish.
This is the dish that's won converts every time it's served to new people who theoretically don't like Brussel sprouts.
This is the dish that My Dear Little Cardamummy tries and tries again to replicate, but can't somehow do it (here's a hint: follow my instructions...but then again, she's not online so that bit of advice won't really help her)
It's a variant of my earlier dish made with sausage and potatoes, and makes good use of a leftover boiled potato or two. It's not an incredibly labour-intensive dish. Really: sitting at a table discarding yellowed leaves and slashing the stem ends really isn't onerous and allows for a good think or chat. Frying bacon and potatoes...that's nothing. And the veggies just steam themselves.
Even though you can make with two pots -- one to steam the veggies and one to do up the bacon and potatoes -- I do the entire dish in one vessel (my wok, to be specific). The trick to this dish is to not over cook the sprouts. Apparently this is easier said than done. The embryonic cabbages should be a bright green and still firm to the tooth with a little bit of give...I suppose slightly crunchy, but not squeaky, if you get the nuances. Once the leaves yield too easily to the tooth, you know you've cooked a bit too far.
Brussels Sprouts with bacon and potatoes
500g Brussels sprouts
3-4 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
cooking fat (butter, oil, bacon fat)
300-400g cubed potatoes, steamed or boiled and cooled
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1 onion, julienned
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (or to taste)
Chilli pepper flakes (optional).
Clean and trim the sprouts by removing any yellowed outer leaves and slashing an "x" the stem end (if the sprouts are small) or slicing in half (if they are large).
Fry the bacon until crispy. Remove the bits, leaving the fat in the pan.
Tip in the potatoes (in batches, if necessary), adding more fat if necessary. Add onions, garlic, salt and pepper. Fry until browned and crispy and remove.
Pour about 60ml (quarter cup) of water with a healthy pinch or two of salt into the pan. Tumble in the prepared sprouts, cover and let steam for a few minutes until the sprouts are vibrant and barely cooked. Drain the water and add the cooked bacon and potato-onion mixture.
Pour in the balsamic vinegar and a splash or two or three of Worcestershire sauce and give everything a good stir. Adjust seasoning to taste, adding chilli flakes if desired.
I'm a quill for hire!
*Really. What part of this song says "crumbling crackers in soup is a rebellious and uber-kewl thing to do"?