Julia Child's Recipes. My Kitchen.

Follow along as I cook from volumes 1 and 2 of the culinary classic - with a modern makeover.

Brussels Sprouts Braised in Butter and Cream

Sunday, November 15, 2009

There are many vegetable recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking and nearly all of them are variations on a butter theme - no surprise there!

I've been catching up on old French Chef episodes on DVD and taking great pleasure in hearing Julia Child verbalize the word "butter" {which happens pretty frequently}. I would guess that even Meryl Streep would have a hard time replicating the exact way Julia can convey all that's good about butter in that single utterance. It's comes out of her mouth in an emphatic, breathy caress:


I can virtually feel creamy, buttery fat coating my tongue and taste the sweet delicacy of a nob of really good butter every time I hear her say it. How does she do that?

Butter elevates many foods to greatness, but in the case of Brussels sprouts it's a match made in culinary heaven. Although I've found that Brussels sprouts are not at the top of many people's lists of favorite foods, I happen to love them. When fresh and in season as they are right now, they mirror the sweetly nutty flavor profile of butter to a "T".

I also like that they resemble miniature cabbages, but don't really taste like cabbage; to me they are more like a combination of broccoli and cauliflower. However, Julia advices to use care when cooking Brussels sprouts, as "overcooked sprouts become, yellowish, mushy and develop the flavor of stale cabbage." They can also develop a certain overcooked-cabbage smell, which is probably the number one reason people seem to avoid them.

There are a handful of recipe variations for Brussels sprouts in MTAOFC, and they are all coated in butter and/or cheese. I decided to prepare the freshly picked Brussels sprouts I brought home with other day with a simple dressing of butter and cream, which will nestle up to a Thanksgiving turkey just fine.

Creamed Brussels Sprouts

Serves 6

Printable recipe here
  • 2 {1-quart} baskets Brussels sprouts
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan; add 2 teaspoons salt and drop in the Brussels sprouts. Cook the sprouts for 5 minutes; drain in a colander and run cold water over them to stop the cooking.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Butter a gratin or baking dish with the butter and arrange the sprouts heads-up in the dish. Cover with foil and bake 10 minutes.

Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan {or microwave on high in a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup until boiling hot}. Pour the hot cream over the sprouts and continue baking for 10 more minutes.

Season with more salt, if you like, and grind fresh pepper over them before serving.

Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, page 452


elfinpdx said...

I LOVE Brussels sprouts. Almost any way you cook them. Nice photos, too!

Renata said...

This might be delicious Karen! How about the chicken up there?! Wow! Loved your blog!


Caroline said...

Hi Karen! This looks delicious-- I'm tempted to bring them to my Thanksgiving table! I just wanted to stop by and wish you a happy Thanksgiving. I can't wait to watch your blog through the holidays to see what delicious and festive things you cook up! Hope to continue to see you at The Wright Recipes!

persephonesawakening said...

I found this posting when searching for Julia Child's advice on Brussels Sprouts. It seems you and I both have an affection for the ol' diddy. I've linked you!

Kris said...

loving your blog...you've chosen recipes people are most likely going to try and tried to make them better. Not so sure about the brussel sprouts...maybe just haven't had them made correctly! I'll give it a try next time I see them in season in the store! Have a wonderful day and looking forward to some more recipes to try!

amanda said...

i love brussels sprouts! never understood why people didn't like them.

this recipe looks lovely, and so do the pictures!

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