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Barleycorn and Brussels Sprouts
Right Food for the Season - Early Fall
Written by R. Patrick Kent   

Do you like beer? I mean, do you REALLY like beer? Why aren’t you making it? Here’s a twist on eating locally. Brew your own craft beer with no clean-up.

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I spent the afternoon bottling a Scottish ale I brewed two weeks ago. The place? Barleycorn in Natick. Check it out – here’s the site: www.barleycorn.com. They have everything you need to brew your own batch, ferment it and bottle it. All in the time and money spent was about 4 hours and $120 for 6 cases of beer. Cheaper than store-bought craft brew and a hell of a lot more fun. The place has a TV tuned to the game and plenty of room to kick back (and sample other folk’s concoctions) while you are working on your porter, ale or what have you. Good times had by all.

Now I’ll get to the preachy part of the post. Think about how silly and inefficient it is to have, say, the Molson-Coors company batch brew a beer with little to no character and burn up gasoline shipping it all over the country. On top of that, heap the colossal waste of resources used in packaging and advertising this stuff, not to mention the waste of the case material and the fuel used to bring the bottles back to recycle. And what do you get for all that? Relatively “cheap” beer to which you have absolutely NO CONNECTION WHAT SO EVER. I don’t mean to universally trash “cheaper” beer – I’ve been known to have one or twelve High Lifes on occasion – but it doesn’t even come close to the enjoyment I got out of the Scottish ale I poured into a frosty glass this evening and paired with pork chops, risotto and roasted brussels sprouts…

…Which brings me to the other half of the post. Brussels sprouts. I think I can say they are pretty much my favorite vegetable (bred for their skills in magic.) It’s early still but we are starting to get sprouts showing up. Verrill had a nice batch out today and we picked them up for dinner. Larousse recommends boiling them before doing anything with them (gratin, saute, etc.) However, I find a great side dish on an autumn/winter night is to ROAST them. Here’s what I tried with the batch I picked up today.

Wash and halve the sprouts.

Preheat the oven to 400

Toss the sprouts with olive oil, a little sherry vinegar, salt and pepper.

Bake for 30 minutes, taking them out every 10 minutes to stir them up so they cook evenly.

Dice up 1 tsp of cold butter and sprinkle into the sprouts. Stir in until melted and salt / pepper to taste.

Fantastic and easy. I’ll post some other variations over the next few months – you’ll be tired of hearing about it before I get tired of eating them…

 

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