Thursday, December 3, 2009
Surprising Side Dish: Brussels Sprouts with Apples & Juniper
At first I was afraid that anything I made with juniper would end up tasting of pine needles. But, I've learned that that simply isn't so. While the juniper berry is a bit resinous in its flavor, it actually bears a pleasant tart-sweet flavor which pairs brilliantly with a number of other ingredients, including apples, bacon, duck, venison, and pork.
It's affinity for apples explains why this side dish, which we ate with our Thanksgiving dinner, was so fabulous.
First, you'll need a pound of fresh brussels sprouts -- cleaned and trimmed -- and one tart apple.
Penzey's Spices online, if you don't have a local source.
Simmer gently, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until the brussels sprouts are tender.
This is decidedly one of the most unusual side dishes we've ever tried; but, it's positively delicious. The apple flavor tames the cabbagey tendency of the brussels sprouts and the juniper berries lend a sweet, almost floral quality to the dish.
Definitely one to try the next time you're looking for a new way with brussels sprouts!
Recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Apple and Juniper
Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs gives some insight into the herb's long-standing reputation as a protective element: "The plant's pungent aroma has long recommended it for driving away evil spirits and disease. Legend has it that juniper planted beside the front door will keep out witches; the only way for a witch to get past the plant was by correctly counting its needles."
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