Creamy Braised Brussels Sprouts

published Dec 11, 2020
christmas
Creamy Braised Brussels Sprouts

Using heavy cream as the braising liquid brings out Brussels sprouts' inherent sweetness, and the cream itself reduces into a thick, ivory-colored glaze that coats the sprouts.

Serves4 to 6

Cook30 minutes to 35 minutes

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Credit: Faith Durand

I know that not everyone adores Brussels sprouts, but I’m convinced that it’s only because they don’t know how to prepare them. When they are left whole and steamed or boiled, the strong taste of the sprouts can be too much for all but the most die-hard cabbage fans. The key to cooking Brussels sprouts is to chop them into small pieces so they release their pungency. Only then does the earthy, sweet essence of these little gems emerge. Using heavy cream as the braising liquid brings out their inherent sweetness even more, and the cream itself reduces into a thick, ivory-colored glaze that coats the sprouts. I’ve even served this to devout Brussels sprout-haters and listened to them rave. 

Brussels sprouts appear in the markets in late fall and winter, making this an ideal holiday dish. If you’d like to dress it up a bit, sprinkle on a handful of toasted hazelnuts or crisp bits of crumbled bacon.

Creamy Braised Brussels Sprouts

Using heavy cream as the braising liquid brings out Brussels sprouts' inherent sweetness, and the cream itself reduces into a thick, ivory-colored glaze that coats the sprouts.

Cook time 30 minutes to 35 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 pound

    Brussels sprouts

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1 cup

    heavy cream

  • 1/2

    lemon

Instructions

  1. Trimming the Brussels sprouts: Trim the very base of each sprout with a sharp paring knife and then peel off any ragged outer leaves. Cut the Brussels sprouts through the core into halves. If the sprouts are large, cut each half into thirds, or, if they are smallish, cut each half again in half to make quarters. Ultimately, you want little wedges that are no more than 1/2 inch across.

  2. Browning the Brussels sprouts: Melt the butter in a large skillet (12-inch) over medium-high heat. When the foaming stops, add the Brussels sprouts and season with salt and white pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts begin to brown in spots, about 5 minutes.

  3. The braise: Pour in the cream, stir, cover, and reduce to a slow simmer. Braise over low heat until the sprouts are tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a sharp knife, 30 to 35 minutes. The cream will have reduced some and turned a fawn color.

  4. The finish: Remove the cover, stir in a generous squeeze of lemon juice, and taste for seasoning. Let simmer, uncovered, for just a few minutes to thicken the cream to a glaze that coats the sprouts. Serve hot or warm.

Recipe Notes

Working Ahead: These can be prepared a couple of hours ahead up through Step 3. Just leave the pan covered and out of the way at room temperature. To finish, remove the lid and heat over medium till warm, then add the lemon juice and season to taste. The cream will have thickened up by itself and you won’t need to boil it to do so.

Recipe by Molly Stevens, All About Braising (W.W. Norton 2004)