Brussels Sprouts in a Chicken Stew

Brussel sprouts are a tricky vegetable to cook.  They are related to many other leafy super foods, and as such, can develop a very bitter or disagreeable flavor when either overcooked, under cooked, or just cooked wrong.   When cooked correctly, they are delicate, soft and almost buttery.

Brussel sprouts go best with some of our favorite winter dishes.  Cooked with delicious creamy baby yukon potatoes, bacon, caramelized shallots, they can’t be beat!

In this simple stew, brussels sprouts, though just a simple component, are the star.  The flavor and texture it brings really makes the dish special.  And, it’s an easy quick stew, good for any week night.

The trick is to cut the sprouts into easily edible pieces, and blanch them ahead of time.  Blanching is of the course the act of submerging an item into boiling salted water until par-cooked, and shocking, or refreshing, in either cold water or ice water.  This softens the sprouts, removes any vegetable odor, enhances its green color and begins giving it wonderful flavor.  This step is critical, and is really the key to wonderful sprouts.  Aside from the stew, the sprouts can be finished in a saute pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and be perfect on their own as a side.

Chicken and Brussel Sprout Stew

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Yield: 5-6 serving

Ingredients:

1/2 lb brussel sprouts, cut in half, tough leaves removed
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 slices smoked bacon, cut into 1/4 in pieces
1 carrot, medium dice
4 baby yukon potatoes, cut into 8ths
1 can cooked great northern beans, well drained and rinsed
1 lb boneless/skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp paprika
1/2 cup dry sherry
flour
1 cup chicken stock
vegetable oil
1/4 cup heavy cream
kosher salt
ground black pepper

Method:

Marinade the chicken in the soy sauce, dijon mustard and paprika.

Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil.  Season liberally with salt.

Slice the brussel sprouts into julienne and submerge into the boiling water.  Cook for 3 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and refresh under cold running water (or use an ice bath, but the little pieces of brussel sprout stick to the ice).  Once cool, let drain on paper towel.  Reserve.

Lightly coat the chicken in flour, making sure to shake off any excess.  Add a little salt while mixing.  In a small stock pot, add a very small amount of vegetable oil and turn heat to high.  Add the bacon and render until almost crisp.  Add the chicken and brown on all sides.  Add the shallots and potatoes.  Cook until lightly browned and deglaze with the sherry.  Let reduce by half.  It should be quite thick.  Add the chicken stock and season with salt and pepper.  Turn heat to medium, and simmer for about 1/2 hour.  Add the beans and cook for another 20 minutes.  Add the cream and brussel sprouts.  Cook until thick and check seasoning one more time.

Serve right away.

Best with bread for dipping.

Enjoy.

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