Fresh Brussels Sprouts in Cream Sauce

Serves 4-5. Recipe is by Corinne Cook.

1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts



For the sauce:

2 tbls. butter

2 tbls. flour

¼ tsp. salt

1?8 tsp. black pepper or freshly ground pepper to taste

Pinch of cayenne pepper

¼ tsp. dry mustard

1 cup whole milk or half-and-half

1?3 to 1/2 cup sharp cheese

Pinch of mace, optional

Generous pinch of nutmeg

1?3 cup buttered bread crumbs, optional

2 tbls. sliced almonds, optional

1. Remove discolored outer leaves from Brussels sprouts and cut off dry tip of stem end. Place them in bowl and cover with lukewarm water. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Place sprouts in strainer and run under cold water to rinse thoroughly. Drain.

2. Using the tip of a paring knife, cut a very small slit into the stem end of each Brussels sprout. Set aside.

3. Bring 1 quart lightly salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan and add Brussels sprouts. Water should almost cover sprouts. When boiling, cover and cook for 7-10 minutes or just until Brussels sprouts are tender. Do not overcook. Drain then place in baking dish.

4. Make sauce by melting butter over low heat in a heavy saucepan. Using a wooden spoon, blend in the flour, salt, pepper, cayenne and dry mustard, stirring constantly over medium-low heat until mixture is smooth and bubbly.

5. Remove pan from heat while you slowly add the milk or cream. Return pan to heat and while stirring, bring sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue stirring until mixture comes to a boil and is smooth and thickened. Add cheese, mace and nutmeg, and taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if desired.

6. Pour sauce over cooked sprouts and sprinkle top with buttered bread crumbs and sliced almonds.

7. Place in 425-degree preheated oven to lightly brown bread crumbs and nuts before serving.