Brussels are good holiday food

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 22, 2014

Yes, it is that time of year again. Cool (cold!) weather, leaves turning, and you have to start thinking of your Thanksgiving meal. I am cooking this year after eating out in past years. But I do enjoy the leftovers!

I always think the sides are the best, and I do try at least one new thing every year. All the new magazines were hot on Brussels sprouts and since I do like them (as well as the rest of the family) this is my year for a new take on them. My favorite recipe has always been Brussels sprouts with pancetta and balsamic vinegar (I have given this recipe in the past). But I have found two other recipes that are very good and these have no pork in them, so a few less calories.

These roasted Brussels sprouts have fresh thyme and a little cider vinegar, and with the caramelized onions make for a tasty treat.

From “Fine Cooking” magazine, Dec./Jan. 2015

Roasted Brussels sprouts with Caramelized Onions

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 cups thinly sliced sweet onions (from 2 large)

1 medium clove garlic, thinly sliced

Kosher salt

1 Tbs. plus ½ tsp. cider vinegar; more as needed

1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves

Freshly ground black pepper

1 ½ lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved or quartered if large

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F.

Heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil in a 5-quart heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; reduce the heat to medium, and cook without stirring until the onions begin to brown on the bottom, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt and stir with a wooden spatula. Continue to cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot frequently and adjusting the heat as necessary, until the onions are very soft and evenly browned, 20-25 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, toss the sprouts with the remaining 2 Tbs. oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet, stirring once or twice, until tender, 20-25 minutes.

Toss the Brussels sprouts with the onions. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and vinegar. Serve at once.


Browned-Butter Seared Brussels Sprouts with Cauliflower Cream

Serves 6

1 ½ cups cauliflower florets (from half a medium head)

1 cup heavy cream

5 sprigs fresh thyme

5 oz. (10 Tbs.) unsalted butter

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large lemon

1 ½ to 2 lb. Brussels sprouts, preferably small, trimmed and quartered

¼ cup dry white wine

1 Tbs. capers

Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving

Combine the cauliflower, cream, thyme, 4 Tbs. of the butter, ½ tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-heat and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Remove the thyme, transfer to a blender, and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Using a sharp paring knife, cut off the ends of the lemon. Stand it on an end and cut away the rest of the peel, including the white pith. Cut each lemon segment free from the membranes, then slice the segments crosswise in half.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the Brussels sprouts until bright green and slightly tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat the remaining 6 Tbs. of butter in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until it starts to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook, stirring occasionally, until they just begin to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the lemon segments, wine, and capers and cook until the sprouts are completely tender, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon the cauliflower cream down the center of the platter and top with the sprouts. Grate some Parmigiano over the sprouts and serve.