I never ate mushy Brussels sprouts growing up. In fact, I never ate any Brussels Sprouts at all, so I never quite understood the constant verbal attacks on the poor vegetable. It was only in my adult years that I gave them a try. By that time, I’d already been heavily influenced by the Barefoot Contessa, i.e, roasting was my go-to vegetable preparation technique. Steaming, boiling, and plain old baking seemed too boring and too flavorless. And when I finally tried roasted Brussels Sprouts, drizzled with olive oil and Parmesan cheese, it was clear that Brussels Sprouts were undeserving of their bad reputation.
But as good as they are, a girl cannot live on roasted Brussels Sprouts alone. In this Hungarian dish, Brussels sprouts are parboiled and then combined with a pork-flavored sour cream sauce, topped with breadcrumbs and baked until golden and bubbling. With a preparation like this, I wouldn’t be surprised if all Hungarian children loved their Brussels Sprouts.
Baked Brussels Sprouts Gratin
Yield: 8 servings
* 2 pounds Brussels Sprouts
* 6 cups water
* 2 Tablespoons salt
* 1/4 cup minced salt pork (note: salt pork is easier to cut when nearly frozen)
* 1/4 cup water
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons black pepper
* 1 1/2 cups sour cream
* 1/3 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a medium-to-large baking dish (I used a 9 x 9 glass Pyrex dish, which worked perfectly)
Wash and trim the ends of the Brussels sprouts. Bring the water and 2 Tablespoons of salt to a boil in a large pot. Add the Brussels Sprouts and let them boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.
Fry the salt pork in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until the bits have browned and become crispy. Remove the salt pork bits with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the onion to the rendered pork fat and cook over medium heat until the onion has softened. Add 1/4 cup of water, one teaspoon of salt, pepper, and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Stir in the sour cream and mix thoroughly. Add the Brussels sprouts and stir well to combine and coat each sprout with the sour cream mixture. Pour into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with paprika and the reserved salt pork bits. Top evenly with breadcrumbs and bake for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling.