Thanksgiving dinner was good, if I do say so myself. The highlight was stuffing that was so supremely delicious that Mr. Annie told me that if I ever made it another way, he would divorce me. An odd endorsement, but a resounding one nonetheless. The company was good, the mood relaxed, and the cleaning up done by someone else. Heaven.
The only flaw in this otherwise idyllic holiday scenario were the Brussels sprouts. I had bits and bobs and recipes in my mind, and decided that I could just “wing it.” I remembered reading that boiling them would leave them sulphurous and repulsive, that bacon was a good addition, and that caramelizing was a good way to bring out the vegetable’s inherent sweetness. I also had a vague memory of eating Brussels sprouts I really enjoyed in a restaurant in Boston about 20 years ago. I think they were roasted. I don’t actually like Brussel sprouts; I just thought we needed a green veg and they seemed more interesting than green beans and more sort of authentically Early Americanesque.
I started out dicing and frying the bacon, then trimming the sprouts. removing the bacon, and adding sprouts to pan. My intention was to cook them low and slow until they were beautifully caramelized, then add the crispy bacon pieces at the last minute before serving. Alas, they cooked and cooked and stayed hard as a rock. Desperate, with 45 minutes left, I added broth and simmered them until they were, well, mushy. I served them, way past al dente, tossed with the bacon. Taste: 8, Texture: 2. It’s impossible to tell whether they were left largely uneaten because they were particularly unappetizing as I had made them, or generally unappetizing because no one likes Brussels sprouts.
Today we launched into leftovers. We all ate the things we loved best: I am inexorably drawn to sweet potatoes and stuffing, Mr. Annie likes everything but the cranberry stuff, and Sam likes nothing but mashed potatoes (hot) and turkey (cold). No one was eating the Brussels sprouts. I hated to waste them, so I came up with the wizard idea of Brussels Sprout Bacon Soup. I pureed the sprouts and bacon, mixed in broth and about a cup of half & half I had left over from making the pumpkin pie. It was okay, but no one else ate it, either. I had a cup for dinner out of a sense of guilt. I left it simmering in the vain, vain, hope that someone would have a conversion and try some.
About an hour ago, Mr. Annie said that he wasn’t feeling very well, and had lost his appetite. He suggested, in an off-hand sort of way that it might because the house smelled like we were “living inside a Brussels sprout.” That being clarified, the pot went onto the porch, the windows were opened, and I gave up on the sprouts. Next year, we’re having a salad.