Author Notes: Brussels sprouts are delicious on their own or flavored! In this recipe, we add Chipotle tabasco to give the dish contrasting flavor. It is good throughout the year, but also as a side in our Thanksgiving Meal feature recipe.
Cooking vegetables sous vide has a number of advantages to the traditional methods of steaming or boiling. Because the vegetables cook in a sealed bag, they retain all of their nutrients and, more importantly, all of their flavor. The natural sugars in vegetables are water-soluble, and in a boiling or steaming pot, these sugars will be whisked away into the surrounding water, leaving your vegetables dull and bland. When cooked sous vide, however, those flavors stay where they belong. And, as you’d expect, there’s no guesswork or fork-probing required to know when your vegetables are properly cooked.
Vegetables are composed of plant cells, which are extremely tough and resilient compared to the cellular structure of meat. Veggies have to be tough – they can’t jump out of the ground and run away from predators. To transform hard brussel sprouts into a tender and yielding side dish, we have to break down those cell walls. Unlike meats, which typically cook between 50°C / 122°F and 65°C / 149°F, vegetables require much higher heat to soften. With a few specific exceptions, like corn and zucchini, most vegetables soften at temperatures between 80°C / 176°F and 88°C / 190°F. —Sansaire
cups Brussels sprouts, halved, outer leaves removed
cup Butter, cubed
Cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
teaspoon Tabasco sauce (chipotle flavor)
tablespoon Kosher salt
- Preheat your water bath to 85°C / 185°F.
- Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl to combine.
- Transfer ingredients to a 1-gallon vacuum bag and seal. *If you aren’t using a vacuum sealer, melt the butter before adding to the other ingredients. With the top of the bag open, use tongs to carefully submerge the bag into the bottom of the water bath, without allowing any water into the bag itself. The pressure of the water circulating around the outside of the bag will push any air out and form a seal around the vegetables. Using the side of the water container, carefully seal the bag.
- Cook for 1 hour.
- Remove the bag from the bath and chill quickly by plunging it into a bowl of ice water. Store refrigerated until 2 hours before serving. This can be made up to 5 days ahead.