Recipe | How to Prepare Brussel Sprout Leaves

"A few months ago I asked on my Facebook page if anyone had any suggestions for preparing Brussel sprout leaves. A few interesting answers were "trade them in for a steak" and "put them in your compost pile." After a good laugh I was determined to try to prepare them in a way that my family would eat, as I had an abundance from my garden. My actual Brussel 'sprouts' hadn't really come together, but the leaves were perfectly crisp and deep green. Here's what I came up with, and I have to say my family and I can't get enough! Yum!" - Alicia

How Many Leaves?

Just like many greens such as spinach, it takes a lot of leaves to feed the family. However much you would like, start with a little more than double your desired amount. For example if you would like to end up with 1 Cup of cooked greens, begin with 2 1/2 (ish) Cup of leaves. This ratio will vary of course, just keep in mind that they shrink up a lot when cooked down.

Boil / Blanch the Leaves

To begin, cut the leaves off of the stalk at the stem, and place in a colander to wash thoroughly. Then, cut the middle stem out of each leave, fold over and cut into 1 inch ribbons. Then, boil (or 'blanch') the leaves, placing them in room temperature water, bring them to a boil with a healthy pinch of kosher salt and keep the water at a rolling boil for 7-9 mins. This may seem excessive, but the leaves are quite thick, and I found this to be necessary for a tender bite. I like to use a pot that has a steamer basket in it, so that I can drain the leaves easily. After this time, pull the leaves out and place aside on a towel, still in the basket. Drain all the water in the pot.

Prepare to Sautee, Sautee

After draining all water from the pot, place approx 1-2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil with 1 Tbsp of Butter, melted in pan over medium-high heat. Dump the leaves back into the dry pan and mix with wooden spoon. Aside, rough chop 2-3 Shallots. Wait to add shallots.

Next, add in 1/2 Cup of Beef Stock (veggie stock will do too if you prefer), also add in 1/2 Tbsp Kosher Salt, 1/2 Tbsp Fresh Black Pepper, 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar, and a pinch of Red Pepper Flakes. After approx 5 minutes or so of sautéing, add in the chopped shallots. (You'll want to wait to add the shallots, as shallots contain a lot of sugar and will burn before the leaves cook down.)

Your Patience is Rewarded if you prefer your leaves to stay green like spinach, you can stop now and get a plate, BUT what I like to do is cook the mixture waaaay waaaaay down, until the beef stock and vinegar cooks out and the Brussel sprout leaves get brown and crispy. This definitely takes some time, but the caramelized shallots and leaves are (OMGoodness!) soooo tasty! 

This dish goes wonderfully with beef, chicken or fish! Enjoy!

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