So my plants are smaller than the “supermarket size” benchmark. As I harvest throughout the season, I try to thin the plants so that the survivors will have more room to grow. And I try to hold out and wait until the vegetables get bigger. With Brussels sprouts, I have an additional challenge: the weather. I want them to get decent sized, but also survive a few day frost to help sweeten these petite cabbages.
This year, winter arrived with a vengeance, and I didn’t have a chance to harvest all the Brussels sprouts before they were buried in a layer of snow. And while the snow melted off the plants, they never fully defrosted so that I could cut them off the stock… until this weekend.
I had about a 5 hour window on Saturday, after the temperatures had been above freezing for 2 days and the plants had thawed, and before the next cold front passed through. I harvested enough for a delightful meal. The rest will wait until the next thaw.
Brussels Sprouts “Carbonara”
I had intended to make a carbonara style pasta dish, substituting Brussels Sprouts for the spring peas. But as I rummaged through the refrigerator, I discovered I had run out of bacon. I did have smoked chicken in the freezer, so I added that instead – giving the dish a meaty, smoky, rich flavor. And in an attempt to keep my diet healthy, I added just a few tablespoons of cream to keep the pasta moist, but didn’t make it rich and gooey as is more traditional.
½ pound pasta
2 chicken thighs, smoked, or two slices of bacon, diced
2 tbs. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, ch
Pinch chili flakes
3 tbs. cream
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese – at least 1/4 cup, but use more if you’d like.
Salt and pepper to taste.
1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season generously with salt.
2. Meanwhile, cut Brussels in half. Toss them with olive oil (or bacon if using), salt and pepper. But them in the oven to roast for 15 minutes.
3. Boil pasta for 1 minute less than the package instructions.
4. After the Brussels have roasted 15 minutes, toss them with garlic and chili flakes. Return to oven for an additional 5 minutes to toast the garlic.
5. Drain pasta. Toss with cream, Parmesan. Add chicken and Brussels. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper (and lemon juice)
I'm submitting this to January's "Grow Your Own" round-up. Originally, started by Andrea of Andrea's Recipes, Nate and Annie have picked up hosting responsibilities.