I’m on a Brussels sprouts kick, as I should be this time of year. You should too. Because they are yummy!
I wasn’t always a fan of Brussels sprouts. I only recently became a convert. The Brussels sprouts of my past were just…not very good (sorry mom). They were boiled or sautéed and tossed with margarine, which made them sort of soggy and mushy and bitter cabbage-y tasting. I tried to eat them years later, and bought the frozen version that you cook in a microwave. They were also soggy and mushy. So I gave up on poor little Brussels sprouts. They were not for me.
But they were all along. Now that I know how to cook them! Roasted and caramelized, Mr. Sprout is sweet and delicious. They come out soft (in a good way) and delicate. Those cute little things are fun to eat, too. I posted a recipe recently for balsamic glazed Brussels sprouts, and have a few more up my sleeve.
This Brussels sprout soup is really easy to make and has simple ingredients like cream and chicken broth. If you want to make it fancy like I did, garnish your soup with a few Brussels and roasted chestnut toast. I didn’t actually peel the chestnuts for this recipe, but you can if you want. I found a bag of pre-roasted and peeled chestnuts in the grocery store. They taste pretty good, and make a great spread.
Toss the Brussels sprouts in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and arrange in a single layer in a roasting pan. If you are using store-bought, packaged chestnuts, add them to the Brussels sprouts and roast them too.
Roast in a 375° F/190° C oven for 15-20 minutes, until soft and lightly brown. When they are ready, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add 2 garlic cloves (chopped). Add the roasted Brussels sprouts, reserving some for garnish (2 halves per person) and stir.
Add the chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Cook on low heat, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover and stir in the cream. Cook for an additional 5 minutes on low heat.
Remove from the heat and use an immersion blender on high to puree the soup until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, pour the soup in batches into a blender and puree. Season again to taste.
Toast the baguette slices. Using a food processor, pulse the garlic clove until finely chopped. Add the chestnuts, parsley, salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Pulse until the chestnuts are chopped but not pureed. Pour in 2-3 tablespoons of oil, pulsing until the mixture is combined, but still chunky. Taste for seasoning.
Spread the mixture on toast and serve along with the soup.
The first time I ate Brussels sprouts that were really good was at a trendy restaurant on Biscayne Boulevard called The Federal, Food Drink and Provisions. It’s only a month later, and I’ve cooked them twice more at home, because they were that yummy.
The Federal is located in the recently designated historic district called, “MiMo,” short for Miami Modern Architecture. Located along the upper east side corridor of Biscayne Boulevard between 54th and 77th streets, this is an up-and-coming area for trendy shops and restaurants. Only a few years ago, this area was better-known for drug dealers and hookers, frequenting the seedy, modern-era motels. The motels now have a new coat of paint and (most) of the hookers are gone. Instead, there is a Farmer’s Market, and restaurants pop up faster than we can try them all.
South Pacific Motel Image: Historic Preservation Miami
The dinner at The Federal was a blur that night. We met another couple for an “adult” dinner with our tired baby in tow. I ended scarfing down what I could of a the prix fixe Miami Spice menu, in between wrangling a squirmy, screeching baby and sitting outside. The Federal isn’t a family-friendly restaurant. The restaurant only had one high chair and it was occupied. I’m not complaining. All restaurants don’t need to be baby-friendly. And I will return, sans baby, so I can actually enjoy the food. Apparently, we tried about ten dishes between the four of us, and nothing on the menu even looks familiar.
I do remember the Brussels sprouts. They were roasted in a molasses vinaigrette with pickled apples and onions. I remember them being almost black — or maybe it was just dark in the restaurant. I was on the fence about Brussels sprouts before, giving them a chance every year, but never really “loving” this cute little cabbage. Now, I’m in love.
Preheat oven to 400° F/ 200° C
Arrange the Brussels sprouts on a sheet pan in a single layer. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with pepper and half of the salt. Drizzle again with balsamic vinegar. Use your hands to toss until coated.
Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, turning 2 times during cooking. They should be nicely browned. Remove from the oven and lightly sprinkle with the remaining salt before serving.