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Football and Brussels Sprouts

On football (i.e. TV dinner) nights, my husband is so engrossed in the sport, his hair could be on fire and he would not notice. I take the opportunity to sneak  some foods into the evening menu that he (being the pickiest eater on the planet) would otherwise reject.

Desperately seeking to introduce a green vegetable into the menu that is not broccoli or asparagus, I made Brussels sprouts the other night. I have never seen Tom eat one without gagging, but I figure in his football oblivion he might.

I hand Tom his plate and join him on the couch to resume feigning an interest in the game.

“Perfect specimens,” he says. He’s referring to the Packers, those Hulk look-alikes in grass-stained pants, spittle dripping from their mouth guards, not to the dainty green spheres awaiting approval on his plate.

My football A.D.D. kicks in and I go to the kitchen, crank up the NPR, and make popcorn. When I return to the sofa, Tom’s plate is clean. Either Tom or the dog lying next to him on is enjoying the benefits of some lovely cruciferous vegetables. I’m happy regardless of who it is, since I got the benefits of a menu variation, for a big fat change.

Here’s how I made ‘em.


Brussels Sprouts With Walnuts

(Serves 4.)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 12-ounce package Brussels Sprouts, trimmed

1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves

1 teaspoon minced garlic

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest

½ cup chicken stock

¼ cup roughly chopped walnuts

1. Heat the oil and butter over medium heat in a skillet or Dutch oven large enough to hold the sprouts in a single layer.  Add the sprouts and cook, turning often, until they are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and cook one minute. minute.  Add the lemon zest and the stock and reduce the heat slightly. Cover and cook the sprouts until they are tender, about 10 minutes (or longer if they are larger sprouts), adding additional stock if you need to.

3. When the sprouts are cooked, add the walnuts, toss and cook for another minute or two, and serve.

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