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1. To prepare Brussels sprouts, peel off two or three of the dark outer leaves from each one; discard. After pulling off and discarding the two or three leaves, pull off several more leaves from each sprout until each one is about 1/2-inch in diameter. Quarter each sprout. Set aside with the removed leaves.
2. In a Dutch oven or an extra-large skillet, heat the sugar over medium-high heat until sugar begins to melt, shaking pan occasionally to heat sugar evenly. Do not stir. Once sugar starts to melt, reduce heat to low; cook about 5 minutes more or until all of the sugar is melted and golden, stirring as needed with a wooden spoon. Add butter; stir butter until melted. Add red wine vinegar. Cook and stir for 1 minute.
3. Carefully add the water and salt. Bring to boiling; add the quartered Brussels sprouts and the leaves. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 4 minutes. Uncover and cook about 5 minutes more or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the sprouts are coated with a golden glaze, gently stirring occasionally.
4. Transfer mixture to a serving dish. If desired, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Makes 12 to 14 side-dish servings.