This dish is a healthy, seasonal veggie-packed take on Southern Dirty Rice. Instead of being loaded with giblets and sausage, I use a smaller amount of sausage and bulk up on the brussels sprouts! Quickly shocking them before adding them to the rice gives the sprouts a nice, toothsome texture and helps them keep their bright, beautiful color.
Wintry "Dirty Rice" with Brussels Sprouts
1 T olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1 small leek, halved, sliced and rinsed
4 small sausages (I used Marczyk's French Sausage)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T fresh sage, chopped
1/4 cup bourbon (may substitute white wine)
2 cups wild rice
4 cups water
2 tsp salt
generous pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
6 cups brussels sprouts, leaves separated
In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute leek and onion in olive oil until onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Remove sausage from casings and add to pot in small chunks. Cook until sausage starts to brown, about 7 minutes, then add garlic and sage and cook 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with bourbon, then add rice, water, salt and red pepper flakes and bring liquid to a boil. Cover pan and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered.
Separate the leaves from the core of each brussels sprout (this takes a while, so do it while the rice is cooking to save time). Rinse well. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Add the brussels sprouts to the water and boil very briefly, so that the leaves become tender, about a minute. Immediately drain and plunge into the ice bath for about 2 minutes or until the leaves are barely cool(but not cold) to the touch.
Add sprouts to the rice mixture and stir until combined. Taste and adjust salt if necessary. Serve immediately with a sprig of sage to garnish, if desired.