Enjoy Brussels Sprouts all Year Long
By Terri, New Mexico
Most people eat Brussels sprouts steamed or boiled like cabbage. I would like to share my own invention that saved me many a meal where I didn’t like what I was eating. I have never been a fan of BS, as I will refer to them, but my husband always liked them and he wanted to grow them. Now we enjoy them all year long—home grown and stored in the freezer.
We live on 10 acres in west central New Mexico at 7,600 ft., so gardening up here has been a learning experience for us. Some things just won’t grow up here, blueberries being one, but I won’t go there and share money down the drain with you. Instead, I will tell you one thing for sure that is a producer by the bushel full. The first year we grew them (BS) we harvested some in October (they like at least one good frost before harvesting) and then again in early December. This last year there was just one harvest in late November/early December and I think that was too late, as they got bigger than they should be. My wonderful hubby just pulls up a chair to a plant and starts cutting them off with a pocket knife, watching for and plucking off any types of worms or bugs that have survived first said frost, and he peels off the first layer or two of leaf that is going to swim away in the hot water bath they are in store for in the house. I have the biggest pot I own on the stove boiling water, waiting for my first batch to make its way into the kitchen. I blanch them in batches of like size, and then they go into an ice water bath before bagging and freezing.
The recipe that follows was an experiment that stuck in our house:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion
Brussels sprouts, one quart size bag thawed, chopped in quarters or smaller
Pinion nuts, a good handful
Salt, pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
A word about pinion nuts from the pinion pine tree that grows in the southwest and other parts of the U.S.: these were harvested off our 10 acres in the fall of 2008. We get a good crop every few years, but other nuts can be substituted as buying pinion nuts can be expensive.
I start by sautéing the onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until soft, then I add the chopped Brussels sprouts and more olive oil as needed to prevent sticking. Continue to sauté over medium heat and season with salt, pepper, and onion powder until edges of the BS start to brown. I have always cooked this in an iron skillet and use a lid for the browning stage. After the edges are good and brown, I add the nuts and, if needed, add more oil. I add these last as they tend to burn. Stir frequently until done and serve hot.
Originally published in the July/August 2010 issue of Countryside & Small Stock Journal.