Braised Brussels Sprouts

February 23, 2007 at 11:21 pm (B_minus (2 stars, okay), Cook's Illustrated, Cruciferous rich, Quick weeknight recipe, Vegetable dishes)

I really love brussels sprouts when I get them at restaurants, but I haven’t been too successful preparing them myself. I’ve tried roasting them, but I haven’t quite mastered it yet–they’re usually undercooked in places, burnt in places, and a bit dried out–still tasty, but not ideal texture-wise. So I thought I’d give braising a try. Cook’s Illustrated says braising is the best way to cook sprouts. They claim it yields sprouts that are crisp, not-too-bitter, and attractively green-colored, plus it’s very fast and easy.

  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, small, firm, bright green, rinsed with stem ends and discolored leaves removed. Sprouts larger than 1.5 inches in diameter should be cut in half.
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup water

Bring sprouts, water, and salt to boil in 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Lower heat, cover, and simmer (shaking pan once or twice to redistribute sprouts) until knife tip inserted into a brussels sprout center meets no resistance, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well and serve.

Serves 2 to 4.

My Notes:

I used 1.25 pounds sprouts, since that’s what I had bought. I thought they were a bit too salty, although Derek added salt. Also, I cooked them for 8 minutes, and they were just a tad overcooked. Maybe I had the heat too high? Next time I’ll probably shut them off after just 5 minutes and let them steam for a few more minutes. Overall, though, I liked this preparation. The sprouts were indeed crisp, sweet, and bright green, and tender rather than hard or burnt. I added pepper, but would like to experiment with other seasonings.

Rating: B
Derek: B-

Update Dec 2011:  I made this recipe again, but again it didn’t work very well.  The sprouts at the bottom (the ones submerged in the water) ended up overcooked and the ones at the top ended up undercooked.


  1. Robbie said,

    I have a great recipe for brussel sprouts. I don’t think it would work for you though. It involves making a carne asada steak at the same time and taking the fat off of the steak and cooking the brussel sprouts in it. So good.

  2. veggielove said,

    I actually like roasting them, as I think it’s easier and the texture’s better. I cut them in half, toss them with a little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice (if I’m feeling ambitious), then roast them spread out on a baking sheet at 375 25 minutes or so, until they are medium brown. Doesn’t hurt to turn them in the middle either.
    Won over my roommate with that one.

  3. austingardener said,

    As you know I always say I like all vegetables except brussel sprouts. Well this recipe changed that. I followed it exactly and the braised brussel sprouts were delicious.
    They were the first harvest from my plants this year.

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