Brussel Sprouts with Red Wine Reduction
It is kind of a rare day here at Macheesmo when I post two healthy and all vegetarian meals back to back. But sometimes that’s just how the dice land, ya know? At the end of the day, while I love a good burger, most of my meals these days are on the healthier side. I’ve been eating a lot of salads and veggies, so that’s what you guys see. Lucky you!
For this post I thought I would tackle a veggie that gets, quite possibly, the worst publicity of any veggie ever. If brussel sprouts had a PR guy, they should fire him immediately and hire me. I will speak to their amazing-ness.
What you have to remember about brussel sprouts is that basically they are a mini-cabbage. Do you like cabbage? Then you will like brussel sprouts! But even if you don’t like cabbage, these guys can be used as kind of a blank canvas. They literally soak up whatever flavors you put with them, which in this case is a delicious red wine vinegar glaze.
The Parmesan adds some creaminess to the dish and the pine nuts give the whole thing some needed texture. I mean… it’s okay to not like plain old steamed sprouts I guess, but these guys are different! To not like these would be kind of weird.
1) Put all the sprouts in a roasting pan and drizzle with some olive oil and Kosher salt.
2) Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Be sure to check them and stir them every 10 minutes or.
3) Toast some pine nuts by pouring them in a dry skillet (no oil). Put the pan on medium heat and watch them carefully, stirring every minute or so. After about 5 minutes you should notice a distinctly wonderful smell coming from them and they should start to brown a bit.
4) Pour them in a bowl to get them off the heat as soon as possible.
5) Add the olive oil (1/4 of a Cup) to the hot pan and then add the garlic to the oil. Let the garlic simmer for about a minute and then add the red wine and the sugar and stir.
6) Let this simmer away and after about 10 minutes it should be reduced by about half.
7) Pour the sprouts right into the pan with the reduction and stir to soak up all that sauce. Then toss with the pine nuts and shave some Parm over the top.
The easiest way to get brussel sprouts is in a bag. You can buy the long natural stem with them attached, but that is kind of a pain to work with unless you plan to grill the whole stem, which I also highly recommend but is the topic of another post.
Look for sprouts that aren’t too big or loose. Nice and tight orbs with bright green leaves are what you are looking for. Wash all the sprouts and then chop off the stems and half each sprout. Don’t worry if a few leaves fall apart. That’s bound to happen.
Then put all the sprouts in a roasting pan and drizzle with some olive oil and Kosher salt.
Put these guys in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Be sure to check them and stir them every 10 minutes or so in case they are cooking faster than expected.
Meanwhile, you can get your other ingredients ready!
The first thing I did was toast some pine nuts. The best way to do this is to just pour them in a dry skillet. Don’t use oil or anything. Just the nuts. Put the pan on medium heat and watch them carefully, stirring every minute or so. After about 5 minutes you should notice a distinctly wonderful smell coming from them and they should start to brown a bit.
They are done! Pour them in a bowl to get them off the heat as soon as possible. These guys will go from perfect to BURNED in about 30 seconds.
Now that you have a hot pan (from the pine nuts), you can use it to make your red wine reduction. Add your olive oil (I used probably 1/4 of a Cup) and then add your garlic to the oil. Let the garlic simmer for about a minute and then add your red wine and your sugar and stir.
Let this simmer away and after about 10 minutes it should be reduced by about half. The way to really tell if it is the right consistency is to run a spatula through it. It should leave a trail in the syrupy reduction.
If you timed it right, your sprouts should be just about done. Some of them will be more browned than others and that is okay. I also like to pull them out when they still have a slight crunch. If they are too soggy then they kind of just turn to mush on the plate. Mush is not a delicious texture.
These were about perfect:
Pour your sprouts right into the pan with your reduction and stir to soak up all that sauce. Then toss with your pine nuts and shave some Parm over the top.
It’s a fantastic side dish that will have any veggie haters warming up to the little green orbs of death. That is, if you can get them to try it.
Make this dish. Eat your vegetables. Thank me in fifty years.