I know Thanksgiving was a week ago, but I just think of this dish as Thanksgiving veggies because it has become one of our family traditions for this time of year.
The hero of this dish is brussels sprouts and I promised a friend who was looking for brussels sprout recipes the other day that I’d post it – so this is for you Cindy!
My early opinion of brussels sprouts was not a good one. I lived in the UK when I was a kid and we were served them at school lunches. They were boiled within an inch of their life, watery, bitter and gross. Along with fish cakes they were my least favourite thing the school dished up. (The days when we would get both fish cakes and boiled brussels sprouts together were my six year old self’s worst nightmare). Trying them again a few years ago (and enjoying them) has reminded me of two important lessons. First, just because we didn’t like something once (especially as a kid) doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try them again. And secondly, how vegetables are cooked makes a BIG difference to their taste. Boiling a vegetable to smithereens and slopping it onto a plate is not the best way to enjoy veggies.
Anyway, on with the recipe…
I think the original recipe used brussels sprouts, squash and turnips which is a nice combination but you can use any roasting vegetables you like. I’ve made this dish dozens of times and each time I’ve given the brussels sprouts different friends. I like to choose veggies with complimentary colors. Carrots and parsnips. Yams and celeriac. Sweet potato and red skins. If you want to make the dish less starchy use pumpkin, turnips, rutabagas, carrots and celeriac.
It is the “dressing” made from nuts, herbs, butter and apple cider vinegar which makes this dish. I roughly chop the nuts and herbs just after I’ve put the veggies in the oven but don’t put the topping together until a few minutes before the veggies are cooked and ready to come out.
The original recipe I think was hazelnuts and tarragon but again, experiment with different nut and herb combinations if you like. I usually use hazelnuts and sage which I think is a heavenly combination.
The chopped nuts and herbs go into the fry pan with a good dose of butter. (I’ve made this dish before with no butter which was still nice if you want a dairy free and / or lower fat option).
Just as the butter and nuts are going golden brown, take the pan off the heat and add about two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper if you want to. Pour over the roast veggies.