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Brussels Sprouts and Steak Stir Fry from Bon Appetit

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         Confession time: I used to loathe Brussels Sprouts. When I was growing up, I even made up a story to explain the Brussels Sprout.  It was, I told myself, a vegetable forced on wartime Europe.  I reasoned this lowly member of the cabbage family was so undesirable, it escaped the ration book.   What it was doing in post-World War II Canada was beyond all understanding.  My attitude towards Brussels Sprouts remained unchanged until only recently.  Two things  changed my mind.  The first was the Brussels Sprouts my cooking pals like Keith and Jeff served recently were not just palatable, they were downright good. And I would likely make a special trip out to the beach to dive into Almond Restaurants’ “Brussels Sprouts Two Ways”.  The second was that when searching for local late season produce, our Hamptons farm stands are positively rife with Brussels Sprouts.  Of course, the farm stands have long been closed for the season.  But the Brussels Sprouts are green and glorious in the supermarket—even if they hail from much further than Bridgehampton.  And when I was doing some research into the Brussels Sprout, I discovered why those Canadian Brussels Sprouts of long ago weren’t at all what I was raving about today. 

This beautiful photograph by Nora Conant
shows un-harvested Brussels Sprouts
in Orient NY
after our last major snowstorm 

         The forerunners to today’s Brussels Sprout were cultivated in ancient Rome.  The vegetable we’re familiar with did indeed come from Belgium, where they were grown in the 13th Century. But in my research, I discovered that the Brussels Sprouts  that I grew up with, have been completely re-engineered by the Dutch company Syngenta.  Before we get into genetically modified agriculture, you should know that Syngenta’s mission is how to grow more crops with fewer resources and they do so, not by genetic modification, but by good old-fashioned propogation.  The effect of their work was that Syngenta developed a Brussels Sprout that was far less bitter than the ones I grew up with and even healthier.  That’s quite a feat.  The Brussels Sprout is a kind of miracle vegetable.  It’s full of Vitamins A and C, folic acid and fiber.  They’re believed to protect against colon cancer.  And because they’re a source of a second potent chemical called ‘sulforaphane’, they boost DNA repair and block the growth of cancer cells.  And get this:  while boiling may reduce the level of anti-cancer compounds, steaming and stir-frying do not!  So today’s recipe is not just a wonderfully colorful way of using Brussels Sprouts, it’s healthy as all get out. 

         As Bon Appetit points out, “the trick to a successful stir-fry? Prep everything before you cook”.  In this case that means making an Asian-influenced sauce, halving your Brussels Sprouts, slicing your inexpensive steak, and chopping 4 aromatics and vegetables.  Before you start prepping, get your Jasmine rice ready.  This is a great rice to work with because it’s highly forgiving.  I put 1 cup of rice in a pot with several cups of water, stir it around and then pour it into a strainer.  The rice goes back into the pot with just 1 ¼ cups of cold water and a tablespoon of salt.  Bring it to a boil, turn the heat off completely, cover the pot and in 15 to 20 minutes, it’s ready to serve. If you leave the cover on, it will stay hot and form the perfect bed for your stir-fry.  Your beautiful stir fry will be on the table in 25 minutes.  Bon Appetit doesn’t call it Fast, Easy, Fresh for nothing. Here’s the recipe:

3 thoughts on “Brussels Sprouts and Steak Stir Fry from Bon Appetit”

  • Monte – I could eat brussel sprouts every day, sometimes more than once. They're my favorite veg. This recipe will help me broaden my horizons. I rarely think to add any kind or protein and this looks luscious. Baking them with a little olive oil and salt is my "go to" quick meal. Thanks AGAIN for providing a great recipe to add to my bulging collection 😉


    • Hi there Michelle. Is there anything worse than going to the trouble to cook something and then end up hating it? I am so sorry you were so disappointed. In all honesty, I don’t have any recall of this dish at all. It from 7 years ago and since I post twice a week that’s a long time. I hope some of my other posts will make up for your disappointment. I do apologize to you. All best, Monte

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