Tag Archives: Brussels Sprouts

Warm Wheatberries + Roasted Brussels Sprouts + Cranberry Balsamic Butter = Happy Vegetarians at Thanksgiving

Farmer has gained 7 pounds since last year. We went to the vet for our annual check-up and rabies shot this morning and discovered this truth. He is bordering on fat, thanks in part to the treats (donuts, potato chips) he and Dad share on the couch every night, watching American Pickers. (Dad is skinny as a rail, so what does he care?) Honestly there is not much I can do about this, other than to take Farmer for longer walks, which would be good for both of us!

While I was at the vet, though, I had my usual conversation about food and cooking with Tara Larsen, who takes good care of us every time we visit Animal Health Care. This was a conversation about fresh food and vegetables, mind you, not about donuts and potato chips. She told me about a shrimp and saffron risotto she’d just had at a friend’s house and about the pies she bakes every Sunday for her husband that feature a combination of Fuji, Braeburn, and Gala apples (what a great sounding combo!). And then she told me about what a fabulous cook her mom is, and how over the years, with three vegetarian daughters, her mom has mastered a tableful of interesting vegetable dishes for Thanksgiving.

So I told her about a recipe that happened to be top-of-mind. I recently got a new assignment from Vegetarian Times magazine that is going to challenge me to do some interesting things with little-used parts of vegetables—like beet greens, carrot tops, and celery leaves. So the other day I started my brainstorming by surrounding myself with books and magazines (yay!) and of course, paging through my own cookbooks to see what flavor partners and techniques I’ve used for some of these veggies in the past. Not only was this a very relaxing activity, but I wound up stumbling across recipes that I love but that I’ve forgotten to make in a while. (Pretty silly when you consider they’re my own recipes!). One that leapt out at me was the Warm Wheat Berries with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Toasted Walnuts, Dried Cranberries & Balsamic Butter Sauce in The Fresh & Green Table. Oh, my, is this a delicious, filling, and pretty dish. And—I realized while describing it to Tara—a perfect addition to a Thanksgiving table with lots of vegetarian guests.

 

Probably the best thing about this dish for Thanksgiving planners is the make-ahead component (though there will be a little last-minute assembling.) Wheat berries (shown raw, above), like a lot of grains, can be cooked ahead and refrigerated or frozen. Then for a dish like this, you can microwave them briefly to warm them back up. You can also toast and chop the nuts, chop the cranberries, and cut up the Brussels sprouts ahead. And though the Brussels sprouts will have to go in the oven, that can happen after the turkey comes out (not everyone at the table is vegetarian, presumably), since the sprouts roast for only 20 minutes at 475°. The quick little stove-top butter sauce is so good, too, that you could double the sprouts and the sauce and put two dishes on the table—one with grains and one without!

I hope you enjoy this, Thanksgiving or not. (It also makes a great veggie supper on its own or a lovely side for roast pork.) Just don’t feed any to the dog, please. He’s on a diet.

Warm Wheat Berries with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Toasted Walnuts, Dried Cranberries & Balsamic Butter Sauce

Recipe copyright Susie Middleton, The Fresh & Green Table, (Chronicle Books, 2012)

Nutty roasted Brussels sprouts have a fabulous destination to head for in this warm wheat berry dish that also features dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, and a tangy butter sauce. Cook the wheat berries a day ahead if you like and reheat in the microwave. If you do decide to make the whole recipe in one stretch, just wait to cook the Brussels sprouts until the wheat berries have been cooking for at least 50 minutes. (Hard wheat berries range in cooking time from 65 to 90 minutes. Be sure not to buy wheat berries that say they’ve been parboiled.) Both the sprouts and the wheat berries will stay warm, covered, out of the oven for several minutes, so if timing isn’t exact, it’s not a problem.

3/4 cup (winter or hard red) wheat berries

Kosher salt

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in quarters lengthwise

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 8 pieces

1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts

1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

In a pasta pot, Dutch oven, or other large sauce pot, combine the wheat berries, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 10 to 12 cups of water (enough to cover the wheat berries by a few inches). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer (it can be a rapid simmer or a low boil), and cook, partially covered, until the wheat berries are tender. Begin checking after 50 minutes, although this may take up to 90 minutes. (Most are usually done between 60 and 70 minutes. The berries should be pleasantly chewy. If you taste early and often, you’ll get a sense of what “done” feels like.) Drain the berries very well in a colander. Shake the colander and tip it around to remove as much excess water as possible. Return the wheat berries to the pot, off the heat, and cover. They will stay warm for 10 to 15 minutes this way. (Or if making ahead, spread on a sheet pan, cool completely, and then refrigerate in a bowl, covered.)

Preheat the oven to 475°F. In a mixing bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with the oil and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Arrange the sprouts in one layer in a 9×13 baking dish (they will be snug). Roast until brown and tender, about 18 to 22 minutes, stirring once if you like. If the sprouts finish ahead of the wheat berries, keep them in the pan, loosely covered with foil.

Combine the orange juice, the balsamic, the maple syrup, and the lemon zest in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring, just for about 15 seconds. Take the pan off the heat and add the cold butter, one or two pieces at a time, whisking after each addition until the butter is melted and creamy. (Don’t reheat the mixture or the butter will break and the sauce will not be creamy.) Combine the wheat berries, the Brussels sprouts, and the cranberries in a mixing bowl, season with 1/2 teaspoon more salt, and pour the sauce over them. Stir gently but thoroughly. Add half of the walnuts, half of the parsley and stir well again.

Serve warm, garnished with the remaining walnuts and parsley.

Serves 3 to 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side dish

 

 

 

Easiest, Quickest, Most Delicious Brussels Sprouts Ever

Yes, I know I am fond of hyperbole, and that the headline at the top of this blog is a bit over the top. But honestly, when something so tasty takes only two minutes to cook (and I am not kidding about that), I can’t help but enthuse.

Out of necessity, I had to deconstruct our garden Brussels sprouts for Christmas dinner. Serving them whole or even halved or quartered wasn’t an option as they were so misshapen and riddled with holes. (They were all different sizes, too. Some were teeny tiny—witness the penny picture below—and some were like mini-cabbages(right), the most beautiful winter flowers I’ve seen.) Secretly I also worried that a bug might have survived all those frosts and still be alive inside. So I peeled the leaves off the sprouts, trimming the stem higher and higher as I went to loosen the leaves, and wound up with a pile of different-sized leaves in various shades of green and a handful of tiny interior nubbins the color of celery.

I’m lucky I had any sprouts at all as I was so annoyed about the bug damage a few weeks ago that I actually yanked up most of the Brussels sprouts stalks and fed them to the chickens (I had harvested what I could from them, I thought). But I sure am glad I saved a few, as I discovered that one thing is true—the flavor of a frost-kissed Brussels sprout is definitely sweeter and more intense than a summer sprout. (This isn’t just romantic gardener talk.) I brought them inside, along with the remaining rutabagas, in order to finally clear a bed I wanted to plant with winter rye. Wrapped loosely in towels and put in plastic bags, these veggies (especially the rutabagas) will keep in that (very cold) mudroom fridge for quite a while.

But about cooking those Brussels sprouts leaves—what a revelation. I heated a combination of half-butter and half-olive oil in a nonstick skillet over pretty decent heat (medium-high on my stove). Just enough fat to lightly cover the bottom of the pan. When the butter was bubbling, I tossed the leaves into the pan, sprinkled them with kosher salt, and quickly covered the pan (I love my glass lid!). I only stirred once or twice (not at all for the first minute and putting the lid back on each time), and in two minutes the leaves that had contact with the pan were all browned in spots and the rest were nicely steamed—still bright green, but wilted and softened. I quickly removed them from the pan and tossed them atop the mashed potatoes alongside our roast beef. (Though I made another batch this morning and just gobbled them up straight.) So delicious.

Certainly I’ve seen recipes for shredding or pulling apart sprout leaves and stir-frying them or quickly sautéing them, but I’ve never really done this exact thing—kind of a “brown-and-steam” method. I think the brief covering creates the perfect texture, and the combination of butter and decent heat provides that incredibly nutty flavor. (The salt is key in playing up that buttery, nutty thing.) And all in two minutes, maybe three if you had a bigger batch. I’d say my leaves fully covered the bottom of the skillet but weren’t more than two or three layers deep, so you can eyeball whatever amount of leaves you wind up with and choose an appropriate size skillet. You don’t need a recipe here, just a pile of Brussels sprouts—preferably plucked from the garden stalk!

Best Roasted Brussels Sprouts + 10 Fave Thanksgiving Sides

This time last year I was preparing to be on television the day before Thanksgiving. (The Martha Stewart Show—I cooked quick veggie sides from Fast, Fresh & Green.) A few years back I did a satellite media tour around this time to promote Fine Cooking’s book How To Cook A Turkey. The year before that, I did a radio blitz for most of November and December to promote all the holiday tips and recipes on Fine Cooking’s website (which, if you haven’t looked lately, is by far the best place to go to plan your Thanksgiving menu. Check out the cool interactive Create Your Own Menu Maker. But I’m not biased or anything.) Well, you can imagine how relieved I am not to be PR-ing this holiday season. I did in fact just record some radio spots for Fine Cooking that will soon air on WGBH (I’ll keep you posted); but they were a whole lot of fun to do—and they didn’t require a new wardrobe or an anxiety attack.

So we are free and clear to have a simple and quiet Thanksgiving at the farmette (yippee!). I still have squash, rutabagas, onions, kale, arugula, herbs, and salad greens from the garden, plus green beans, corn, and roasted tomatoes that I froze, so we will be able to make most of the meal über-local. I will wander across the street to the West Tisbury Winter Farmers’ Market on Saturday to see if I can get the rest of what I need.

Regardless of where you plan to get your goodies, most of you, I know, have this one thing on your mind: What kinds of dishes can I cook that are easy and delicious, that everyone likes, and that will serve a decent-sized crowd? To that end, I’ve gathered a list of ten of my own favorite side dish recipes that serve at least six people (below). Some of these recipes reside on sixburnersue.com, but several are ones I developed a few years back for an “updated classics” story on Thanksgiving sides for (you guessed it) Fine Cooking magazine. And I also threw in a “create your own” creamy veggie soup from another FC article I did years ago, in case yours is the kind of family that likes to start the meal with an elegant soup (or needs options for vegetarians).

But for the tenth recipe on the list, I couldn’t resist posting my Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange Butter Sauce. This is a recipe I originally created for Fast, Fresh & Green but that I tweaked last year for the TV gig so that it would feed more people. I just remade it this morning and am happy to confirm that it is not only delicious, but possibly one of the fastest and easiest Thanksgiving side dishes ever to make.

Here’s my list:

1. Green Beans with Crispy Pancetta, Mushrooms, and Shallots

2. Roasted Turnips with Maple and Cardamom

3. Pomegranate-Balsamic-Glazed Carrots

4. Bourbon Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole with a Pecan Crust

5. Creamy Baked Leeks with Garlic, Thyme, and Parmigiano

6. Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes with Roasted Garlic

7. Thanksgiving Gratin of Butternut Squash, Corn & Leeks

8. Potato Galette with Fresh Rosemary & Two Cheeses

9. Creamy Vegetable Soup (Pick Your Own Veggie!)

10. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange Butter Sauce (see below)


Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange Butter Sauce

I’ve roasted Brussels sprouts a few different ways, but you can’t beat this method for volume (large rimmed sheet pans hold a lot), quickness (16 to 18 minutes in a 475° oven), and great results (by halving the sprouts and roasting them cut-side down, the tops and bottoms brown but the interiors steam). The flavorful butter sauce gives the nutty roasted sprouts just the right touch of tangy-sweet richness to make this completely holiday-worthy.

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2 lb. small Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice

1 tsp. finely grated orange zest or lemon zest

4 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces and kept chilled

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Preheat the oven to 475˚F. Line two large heavy-duty rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with the 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 tsp. of the salt. Divide the sprouts between the two sheet pans and arrange them, cut-side down. Roast until brown and tender, 16 to 18 minutes. (The tops will be dark brown and crispy and the sprouts should feel tender when pierced with a paring knife.) Transfer the sprouts to a mixing bowl.

Combine the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, orange juice, and orange zest in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat just until it’s hot (you will see a bit of steam), but not simmering. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cold butter, several pieces at a time, whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth and creamy. (Don’t reheat the mixture or the butter will break and the sauce won’t be creamy.) Pour the sauce over the sprouts and stir thoroughly but gently until most of the sauce has been absorbed. Transfer the sprouts and any remaining sauce to a serving platter and serve right away.

Serves  8

Bringing Home the Brussels Sprouts–For a Quick Braise

Brrrrr…..Brussels sprouts. The two seem to go together. But I guess I’ll never know if frost makes sprouts sweeter (so they say), since we harvested all our Brussels sprouts from the garden last night—and this morning woke up to a shiny silver blanket of frost (our first) on the fields all around us.

The amazing thing is that we have any Brussels sprouts at all. Watching the flea beetles ravage them in late summer, I all but gave up on them until about a month ago when I noticed little sprouts were forming anyway. So I topped off a few of the plants to see if that would increase the size of the sprouts. (Now that I’ve harvested, I can’t really tell. All the stalks have sprouts of all different sizes on them, bigger ones at the top.)

Last night we made a foray over to our much neglected garden to continue trying to break it down. But if you ever want to better understand the will to live, visit a vegetable garden on Martha’s Vineyard in early November. Not only did we have dozens of eggplants hanging off the plants, but the cherry tomatoes are still ripening even though we pulled the vines down. (It’s the warm sea air.) And we came back with buckets of kale, chard, and mustard greens; about 100 green peppers (I’m not kidding–friends are stopping by today to pick some up!); a couple of hidden potatoes, and…a big armful of Brussels sprouts stalks.

The sprouts were the last thing we picked from the garden, as they’re in the far corner. We scrambled over the nasturtiums and zinnias (still blooming) to get to them, and found the stalks standing tall and alien-like, with their holey wings extended nearly far enough for the goats to nibble on them through the fence. And yes, they were covered with sprouts—many that didn’t even have holes in them! We yanked them out of the ground and carted our harvest back to the car.

(On our way out of the garden, we were ambushed by about six of the mama goats and their now-big babies, who’ve been waiting all summer to get into our garden. Our hands were full, we couldn’t stop them, so in they came, heading straight for the remaining kale and chard. We packed the car, came back and shooed them out, but they were all smiling. They had this planned.)

This morning I made quick-braised Brussels sprouts and this afternoon I’m planning on a Tuscan kale soup to start using our goodies. The quick-braising technique (for more details, see Fast, Fresh & Green) is such a great one for Brussels sprouts as the sprouts get to brown in the pan first (for great flavor), and then finish cooking to the perfect texture in a little liquid. That liquid simmers down to make a little bonus pan sauce in the end, too. Below you’ll find the variation I made today.

Quick-Braised Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts vary a lot in size—not just in the garden, but in the grocery store, too. If you can, choose medium-sized sprouts—or at least sprouts that are all close in size to each other. If you can only find very large or very small sprouts, you can increase or decrease the liquid by a little bit (2 to 3 Tbsp.) to assure that your sprouts will be cooked properly. (Also feel free to eliminate the white wine and use all chicken broth.) Whatever size sprouts you wind up with, be sure they fit in one layer (once you cut them in half) in your 10-inch straight-sided pan. If there are extras, put them aside, as the sprouts won’t cook evenly if they’re in more than one layer.

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¼ cup dry white wine

¼ cup lower-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

¾ lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 small lemon

chopped fresh parsley or chives (optional)

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Combine the white wine and chicken broth in a liquid measure.

In a 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan with a lid, melt 1 ½ tablespoons of the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Arrange the sprouts, cut side down, in one layer in the pan. (You’ll have to tuck them in snugly.) Season with the salt. Cover and cook the sprouts until the bottoms are nicely browned, 3 to 6 minutes. (If the heat on your stovetop is uneven, rotate the pan so that the bottoms get evenly browned.) Pour the wine/chicken broth mixture into the pan and cover the pan mostly with the lid (leave it slightly askew for a little steam to escape). Adjust the heat so that the liquid is just gently simmering.

Cook until the broth is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, 6 to 8 minutes. Uncover and add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter and the garlic. Toss well and stir just until the butter has melted. Remove the pan from the heat, and continue to stir gently until the garlic are well-incorporated and slightly softened. Gently squeeze the lemon half over all, toss, and serve.

Serves 3 to 4

Playing Dress-Up: Roasted Brussels Sprouts Get Spiffy with Tangy Brown Butter

 

By now, you’ve probably drunk the koolaid and are indoctrinated into the magical powers of roasted brussels sprouts. This  ordinarily whiffy and less-than-taste-bud-pleasing vegetable gets a new life from the alchemy of the oven. The roasted result is nutty-delicious, the texture of the leaves fluttery-flaky-crispy, and the possibilities for seasoning endless. And shoot, cooking them is so damn easy. Maybe too easy–sometimes it’s tempting to forget that there are pitfalls to roasting brussels sprouts. Number one: They can dry out. To avoid this, cut your sprouts in half (not in quarters), and roast them cut-side down. This allows the bottoms (or cut-sides) to get caramelized, but also keeps moisture from escaping. Normally, I like to spread veggies out when roasting, but a little coziness is okay when roasting sprouts. All that togetherness means they steam a bit while roasting.  I even use a pyrex baking pan sometimes, instead of my usual roasting favorite–the heavy-duty sheet pan.

Lastly, don’t forget the flavor boosts. You can add onions or shallots or hearty herbs to the roasting pan, but lately I’m liking the option of adding flavor after the sprouts are cooked. I make a brown butter and spike it with lemon or lime and maple or honey….some fresh herbs, and definitely nuts. Nuts. Nuts. Nuts. No flavor pairs as well with roasted brussels sprouts as toasted nuts–especially hazelnuts and pecans. (If you don’t like nuts, no worries, though. Spiked brown butter is just fine.) Brown butter is easy to make; you simply melt butter until the milk solids begin to brown. Keep an eye on things though, as the brown butter will quickly darken and will eventually burn if ignored.

For this recipe, choose smaller sprouts, and beware those monstrous mini-cabbages masquerading as sprouts in the grocery store (not sure where they come from). The smaller ones will cook more evenly throughout.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Nutty Lemon-Maple Brown Butter

Serves 2 to 3

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2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 ounces small Brussels sprouts, cut in half
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

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Heat the oven to 400°F. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the microwave or in a small pan on the stovetop. Toss the Brussels sprouts with the melted butter, the olive oil, and the kosher salt, and spread them in one layer, cut-side down, in a heavy-duty baking pan or casserole dish (Pyrex is fine).

Roast the sprouts until they are deeply browned on the bottom and tender when poked with a paring knife, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of butter with the chopped nuts in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir and watch carefully until the nuts and the butter turn a light golden brown. Remove from the heat, pour in the maple syrup and lemon juice (the syrup will immediately boil and reduce), and scrape out into a heat-proof dish (to prevent further cooking). The mixture will be syrupy.

Pour and scrape the nut-butter-syrup over the roasted sprouts, toss well, and serve warm.