I knew I’d be cooking Brussels Sprouts for supper. I needed a meat and inspiration. After some digging around, I found a ham slice. These are slightly larger than a laptop computer, albeit much thinner, and serve three people pretty well. So I had my meat. But what to do about the sprouts?
As I got the sprouts out so I could trim off the ends and soak them in cold water to freshen up, I noticed two bags of fruit. Hmm. Sweet, salty, and bitter, this might work, if I add . . . . dig, dig, rummage, shift, ah ha! A bottle of red wine and one of a sweet-n-peppery marinade appeared. Now we’re cooking with gas!
N.B. All measures are approximate. I tend to cook by eye and nose when I’m doing meats and such.
For the ham: one ham steak*
red wine (drinkable but not quite good enough for company, say $10-15/bottle)
lingonberry preserves and a tablespoon or so (what was left in the jar) of quince preserves.
Cut ham into pieces. Put in small pot, add a little water, a dollop of red wine, the quince, and about a tablespoon or so of the lingonberry. I also added the rinse water from the quince jar probably another quarter cup. Simmer. (I didn’t plan on saving the juice for a marinade, so the thinness didn’t bother me.**)
Brussels Sprouts in hot-sweet fruit sauce:
1 lb (14) Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and soaked in cool water for a few hours if needed
1 C or so sweet-n-spicy marinade (this is a Gallo Farms pineapple and jabañero chili)
1/2 C or so red grapes, cut in halves
1/4 C or so pitted and quartered cherries
1/4 cup dried apricots cut into slivers
two shakes of chipotle powder.
While the sprouts are steaming (30 minutes in the electric steamer), combine the sauce. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat and keep at a low simmer until the sprouts are done, stirring occasionally. The sugar in the sauce may make it prone to scorching, so stay low on the heat. You are not really cooking it as much as heating and blending it. When the sprouts are done, remove from steamer or other cooking device and add to sauce, stirring until well coated.
To serve: remove ham from cooking liquid and put on plates. Add sprouts and fruit. Serve.
Three people ate very well. You might want to add rice or a mild couscous, or even pasta, and it will go farther. Feel free to tinker, but I’d keep a balance between sweet, savory, and spicy.
*This would probably also work well with smoked turkey, 16 oz or so.
**It helped cut the salt of the ham. A family member prefers a minimum of salt.