Brussel Sprouts with Fennel and Cider Cream

October 29, 2009
0 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

As we settle into Fall here in the Northeast apple cider and cranberries are everywhere, and I was anxious to put them to good use in this dish. The fennel adds a nice textural contrast, and an additional element of flavor without overpowering the star of the show, the brussel sprouts. I have used a variation of this cider cream for years as a drizzle over a butternut squash and apple soup I make, and it is perfect here, adding just a touch of sweetness and a richness that mellows the bitterness of the sprouts. The cranberries and bacon not only add visual interest, but also contrasting sweet and salty pops that nicely play off the still toothsome, earthy brussel sprouts. —Oui, Chef

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound brussel sprouts
  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 slices, thick cut bacon
  • 1 tablespoon butter for the dish
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 375 ?
  2. Butter the bottom and sides of a shallow gratin dish.
  3. Take the apple cider and place in a saucepan over high heat, reduce by half to approximately 1/4 cup.
  4. Quarter the fennel, cut out the wedge shaped root at the base, and thinly slice. Saute in a pan over medium-low heat with a little olive oil and butter, season with salt and pepper. Cook until it is lightly caramelized, and just starting to soften. When done, spoon the fennel into the gratin dish in an even layer.
  5. Trim the stems of the sprouts, removing any tough outer leaves, and quarter them. Add to the pan that the fennel was cooked in, with a touch more oil and butter, and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until the brussel sprouts are nicely browned on a few sides, but still maintain a vibrant green color, 7-8 minutes. When done, pour them over the fennel in the gratin dish.
  6. Combine the reduced apple cider with the cream and pour over the sprouts and fennel, sprinkle with the cranberries, season with salt and pepper, and cover with aluminum foil. Place into the oven for 30 minutes.
  7. While the sprouts are cooking, cut the bacon into lardons and cook until crispy. Drain on a paper towel and reserve.
  8. Remove the dish from the oven, uncover, and sprinkle with the cooked lardons to serve.
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  • Megan Town
    Megan Town
  • kitchenfish
  • AntoniaJames
  • melissav
  • Oui, Chef
    Oui, Chef
I am a father of five, who recently completed a two year professional hiatus during which I indulged my long held passion for cooking by moving to France to study the culinary arts and immerse myself in all things French. I earned “Le Grande Diplome” from Le Cordon Bleu, studied also at The Ritz Escoffier and Lenotre cooking schools, and completed the course offerings of the Bordeaux L’Ecole du Vin. About six months ago started "Oui, Chef", which is a food blog that exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my children a few things about cooking, and how our food choices over time effect not only our own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences through the blog, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, cooking healthy meals as a family, passing on established familial food traditions, and perhaps starting some new ones.

8 Reviews

Megan T. November 6, 2014
I'm trying to coordinate this with another recipe (cooked at 300 degrees F), do you think I could cook the brussels sprouts for a bit longer at a lower temperature, or would that be a flop?
Wisdm October 18, 2013
LOVED this recipe! i used a little less heavy cream and a little more cider than called for and couldn't get enough of this dish! just be warned that it doesn't keep too well for very long. i'd say toss after the third night if you haven't eaten all of it by then. but otherwise, make this as often as possible and take it to every fall party that you attend!
Oui, C. October 19, 2013
Glad you enjoyed the recipe, and happy to hear you modified it to make it your own!
kitchenfish March 21, 2013
This was AMAZING. I ate it for days... In salads, on couscous, I even made a ragout and added the very last bits to that... Thank you very much.
AntoniaJames February 16, 2010
Can't seem to reply directing to your response . . . I used "heavy whipping cream," which is the heaviest dairy product that isn't butter that I can obtain at my local shops. The cider is a tart organic unfiltered but given that there was no instant curdling with the tepid cider and room temperature cream, I'm inclined to think that the intense heat was the culprit. I've done some research (perused several science-of-cooking resources that I own) and confirmed that heat can cause curdling. I adjusted my convection oven down to 350 degrees as recommended. Mr. T. didn't mind at all. He's a kind, understanding sort who, nearly without exception is pleased with, and is always very grateful for, whatever is set before him. The curdling didn't bother me, either, really. I did though want to alert others to the possibility.
AntoniaJames February 14, 2010
I made this tonight but had a serious problem. I reduced the cider as suggested, and did that in fact while I was preparing the Brussels sprouts. When I had completed through Step 5, I poured the cream in the pan in which I'd reduced the cider and it immediately curdled. I thought perhaps the problem was that the cider was too hot. The cream had been out on the counter since I started my prep, so it wasn't ice cold. So I tried again, this time freezing a metal measuring cup while I was reducing the cider, then putting the reduced cider into the cold cup and wrapping it with a sports ice pack to get it cold as quickly as possible. (It worked really well, by the way.) I poured the cider into some new cream, which by this time was practically room temperature. It didn't curdle immediately. It did, however, while the dish was roasting. Perhaps it was the acidity of the cider that was the problem? I used an unfiltered organic that was quite tasty. Fortunately, we were just the two of us tonight, and this being the thirtieth Valentine's Day we've celebrated, it was of course a nice dinner anyway. In any event, it seems that there must be a lesson here somewhere . . . . . Any ideas? I was really pleased, by the way, at how the dried cranberries mellowed out when cooked with the vegetables in the oven. The bacon is a nice touch, too. Really makes the dish, in fact. Thanks! ;o)
Oui, C. February 16, 2010
Antonia - Interesting....I suppose it could be a thermal reaction, but I think it odd. I keep reduced cider in my fridge to use on many things, so to be honest, my mix has always been between cold cream and cold cider....no problems. I have had curdling or separation problems on various recipes when trying to lighten the fat load by substituting light cream or half and half where a recipe called for heavy cream. Could that have been an issue? I'll play with this some myself and let you know what I find. Lovely to hear of your 30th Valentine's celebration, and hope this recipe didn't put too much of a crimp in your evening. Thanks for letting me know of the problem, and I'm glad to hear that you ultimately enjoyed the dish. Best - S
melissav October 30, 2009
Sounds delicious - a nice combination of sweet, salty, and tart.