Wednesday, November 19

Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pears

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pears

What exactly is the root of all this antipathy toward Brussels sprouts?

Is it the color? Sometimes it's not easy being green. Or yellowish-green.

Is it the smell? You know what I'm talking about. Boil Brussels sprouts on your stove top for 10 minutes and the neighbors will begin to wonder which farm animal you recently adopted.

Is it your mother's fault? If she served mushy, water-logged, brown Brussels sprouts when you were a kid, it's not your fault that you hate them.

Let me attempt to ingratiate Brussels sprouts with you, especially since many of you will likely be cooking and/or eating them next week on Thanksgiving.

Though Brussels sprouts have been around since ancient times, they are named after the city of Brussels in Belgium, where they have been cultivated (and appreciated) since Medieval times. Brussels sprouts are members of the brassica family, so they're related to broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kolrabi, none of which are going to win any popularity contests. That's why Brussels sprouts taste like cabbage and are sometimes referred to as "mini cabbages."

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pears

5 Tips for Liking Brussels Sprouts:

1. Select brightly colored Brussels sprouts that are free of black spots or other blemishes, which indicate they are old.

2. Choose smaller Brussels sprouts, which tend to be nuttier in flavor and less "cabbagy" tasting.

3. DO NOT overcook them. Overcooked Brussels sprouts release more sulfur, which causes that smell. You know the one.

4. How you cook Brussels sprouts makes a big difference in how they taste. First par-boil Brussels sprouts and "shock" them. Partially boil the sprouts for 2-3 minutes, then plunge them into a bowl of ice water; this will stop the cooking process and maintain the sprouts' vibrant color. Then you can saute them on the stove top or roast them in the oven.

5. If you are invited to someone's house for Thanksgiving this year, offer to make the Brussels sprouts, so you don't have to suffer Aunt Maude's sadly boiled, mealy sprouts for another year. Everyone will be thankful for that.

And for you food bloggers out there, here's a secret for building traffic. Come up with a killer Brussels sprouts recipe. Believe it or not, of all the posts I have written, one that continually elicits reader emails is Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Breadcrumbs and Lemon. Many people have emailed me thank you notes, saying that this "sunny" version of Brussels sprouts has become their new favorite. I even had one woman say she subscribed to my feed because of that recipe.

So there you have it, a way to build blog traffic and reader subscribers with Brussels sprouts. I wonder if Problogger knows about this.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pears
Makes 6 servings
Print recipe only here.

Sweet honey and pears act as a foil to the earthy Brussels sprouts. It's a simple yet elegant dish that is ideal for a holiday dinner.

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 large Bartlett or Bosc pears, unpeeled, and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons lemon juice
zest of 1/2 lemon
2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish
salt and several cranks of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup lightly toasted walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large saucepan boil Brussels sprouts for 2 minutes; drain.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients (except walnuts) and toss until vegetables are well coated. Lay vegetables in a single layer on a tin-foil lined baking sheet (for easy clean-up). Roast for 20 minutes, turning once, or until vegetables have a few brown spots.

Place cooked vegetables in a serving dish. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts and some extra salt and thyme. Serve immediately.

Don't forget to check out the previous three traditional Thanksgiving side dishes with a twist:

Roasted Acorn Squash with Honey-Lime Glazed Pepitas

Olive Oil, Caramelized Onion, and Sage Sweet Potatoes

String Beans with Prosciutto, Pine Nuts, and Meyer Lemon

I'm sending this to Siri of Siri's Corner who is the hosting this week's Weekend Herb Blogging.


Maria said...

Adding in pears is a wonderful idea!! Thanks for the recipe! Maybe my husband will try brussel sprouts now..ha!

Meghan said...

We LOVE sprouts in my family... I never understood peoples disdain.. I think it stems from the mushy tasteless stuff that can end up on dinner plates as children. I guess I was lucky to grow up in a house with a mom who was a creative cook!

Adding pears... now THAT idea i love... we just had some the other night, or I would make this tonight! Might add this to my Turkey day side dish list.

Heather said...

i've never understood the hatred of brussel sprouts. i love them... and cook them a lot! i like putting them in stuffing at the last minute to add some crisp and balance against the apples. but adding pears?! i thought i had tried every which way with b-sprouts - bread crumbs, nuts, soy, maple, garlic... but pears! never thought of that! love it :)

Mishmash ! said...

i started cooking with brussel sprouts very recently but now i like it a lot....

Terry at Blue Kitchen said...

A wonderful post, Susan! Perfect timing too--I just did one on a soup made with roasted cauliflower, another cruciferous vegetable with an image problem.

Oh, and thanks for making my Thanksgiving life easier with all your cool sides. Instead of posting a side dish of my own, I just added a link to you in my soup post. Call me lazy, if you like. I prefer to think of it as being efficient.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

As you say it's not easy being green. Brussel sprouts have a bad rap from not being cooked properly. IC by this delicious recipe you are to chasnging our opinion:D

Michelle said...

I'm actually working on a post that includes brussel sprouts. These are relatively new in my kitchen, ever since a recipe in Super Natural Cooking turned me on to them! Prior to that I think my mom made me eat them, like, once. She also made me eat pig's feet once. Weird.

Anonymous said...

I'll admit that I'm one of those people who avoids Brussels sprouts because of their sulfurous odor. The only way I ever eat them is barely cooked then marinated in oil and vinegar and lots of red pepper. But I keep seeing recipes like this that make me wish I liked Brussels sprouts. I need to try cooking them myself and see if I can discover their good side.

Patsyk said...

I discovered I liked brussels sprouts after eating them at one of Daniel Boloud's restaurants in NYC. I haven't attempted to make them as I didn't really have a good recipe to try out. Yours looks wonderful... just wonder if I can convince the little guys at my dinner table to eat them...

Anonymous said...

I personally love them but the boy friend hates them so I rarely make them.
Love your take on them with the pears, delicious!

Rosie said...

What a wonderful idea to add pears! I like sprouts as do my family but this takes it to another level - yum.

Rosie x

Kalyn Denny said...

I have to confess I used to be rather brussels sprout apathetic until I tried roasted ones. Love the idea of pears combined with them. I bet it's fantastic!

Dana Treat said...

I'm going to post about those little guys today too. I am so impressed that you got such a lovely photo - mine is very washed out. I love the idea of pears in there!

Abby said...

I LOVE brussels sprouts (and all those other tasty veggies you listed above!) But I only came to them as an adult because my parents don't eat them. I almost always roast them with olive oil and salt. YUM.

Lisa Fain (Homesick Texan) said...

I like them sliced in half, lightly sauteed in olive oil with a pinch of coarse sea salt. A squeeze of lemon is good, too. And who knew that writing about Brussels sprouts was such a traffic driver--I should come up with a Brussels sprouts enchilada recipe!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A delightful combo! I'm a Brussel sprouts addict!



Simona Carini said...

I really like roasted Brussels sprouts and in fact I have some ready to be cooked right now. I also have some Bosc pears, so I am ready to try your delightful combination.

Darius T. Williams said...

Pears?!?! Now this is something I've got to try!


Cakespy said...

YES!!! Brussels sprouts are my favorite! This sounds like a great combination!

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

Great idea to add the pear. It's always the "controversial" vegies that are the most fun to eat.

bee said...

sounds delectable. will try this combo next time we get brussel sprouts.


Susan from Food Blogga said...

maria-Let me know if he does!

meghan-Really? That's terrific! I really liked the combo myself.

heather-Yay! It's something new for you to try.

shn-That's good to hear.

terry-I love cauliflower soup. I think of it as nice. :)

val-That's what I want to hear. Thanks!

michelle-Pig's feet? I'm glad my mom didn't make me try those. ;)

julie-You might just be surprised.

patsyk-I would think he could make dirt taste good. :)

linda-I understand. Thanks!

rosie-I appreciate that!

kalyn-It really adds a lovely sweetness.

dana-Thank you so much. It's the shocking process that helps maintain their color. Give it a try some time to see what I mean.

abby-Roasting is the way to go.

lisa-Seriously. :)

rosa-You get a gold star then. :)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

simona-I hope you like it.


cakespy-Really? Cool.

peter-So true. :)

bee-I'm happy to hear that.

Christine said...

Beeyoutiful photos, Susan. I love the idea of pairing pears with the sprouts. (I had to say that.)
I happen to have a sauteed brussels sprout post in my drafts and me working overtime with no blogging time. Hopefully this weekend...

Deborah Dowd said...

This looks like a great way to eat brussels sprouts whether you like them or not. I love the flavor and texture combination!

Anonymous said...

I'm really trying to learn to love Brussels sprouts, but it's not easy. Sometimes it's the aroma that really gets to me; other times it's the gassy feeling I get when I eat them. But I keep trying, especially when I see wonderful recipes like this one.

Anonymous said...

Another great way to enjoy brussels sprouts! I really like them, but my husband won't touch them...more for me, I guess! I like the addition of walnuts to this - I can just imagine how well the nutty flavor and crunchy texture work with the sprouts and pears. Nice!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Culinary Wannabe said...

I always I imagined that I would hate brussels sprouts, until I actually tried them that is. Slightly embarrassing that I spent nearly a quarter of a decade avoiding a vegetable out of pure ignorance. I'm now a fan though - thanks for spreading the good word! :)

Anonymous said...

great idea! we've done it w/ some thin-shredded apples, but i like the pear b/c it's a bit more mild in flavor. i totally love sprouts, though, so there's not much you need to do to them to make me love them more!

Dewi said...

Can't believe that thanksgiving is on its way!
Brussel sprouts is the ultimate veggy in my family, I can make this any day, it's too bad that my son having a hard time to appreciate it. Maybe I can give him your 5 tips for liking brussel sprouts.

Heather said...

hi - you won a box of berger cookies! send me your address and i'll get 'em out to ya!

Ivy said...

What a lovely idea to make them with pears. We are not really fans of Brussels sprouts but must give them a second chance.

tavolini said...

Perfect timing!! I have a bag of brussels sprouts that have been staring me in the eye for a minute!

I adore them, but I'm still trying to convert everyone else :)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

In my father's case it's because Brussels Sprouts were the only veggie grown in England during the war and were served all the time.
I really love them.
This looks really wonderful.

Coffee and Vanilla said...

What a delicious recipe Susan! I must try it. I love bs anyway, but not the whole of my family, so I always try new ways :) Thank you for sharing this recipe.
Hehe, I read ProBlogger from time to time as well, and I don't think they ever thought of that ;)


Apples and Butter said...

I happen to love Brussel Sprouts, but never would have thought to serve them with pears. Great idea!

Anonymous said...

I love brussel sprouts - something I was actually ashamed of when I was younger, because no one I knew could stand them. The pear and ginger sound very interesting!

Cynthia said...

This is definitely going to be on my table at Christmas this year! Thanks Susan.

K Allrich said...

I couldn't agree more- roasting brings out the nutty sweetness. And I love your addition of pears. Inspired. (PS: Just added this link to a gluten-free Thanksgiving recipe list on my blog). Thanks, Susan!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

christine-I'm glad you had to say that. :)

deborah-Thank you so much!

lydia-Hey, it's ok if they're just not your thing. :)

kathy-The walnuts really draw out the nutty flavor of the sprouts.

cwannabe-Hey, we all do that. At least you know what you were missing! :)

wanf-I love them with apples too.

elra-Only a week now! Whoa! I'd better get ready. ;)

heather-Yippee! Thank you!

ivy-The pears make them much better.

tavolini-Don't you love when you have all the ingredients on hand? Thanks!

tanna-Will he still eat them? ;)

margot-This could be my big break. ;)

applesandbutter-Thank you so much!

lynda-I think kids feel obligated to say they hate brussels sprouts!

cynthia-That's terrific! Thank you!

karina-Oh, thank you so much for the link love. :)

We Are Not Martha said...

Oooh my friend and I were just looking for new brussel sprout recipes and this one looks fabulous. And I do not cook with pears nearly enough!


Nina Timm said...

This is such an interesting combination.We are in the middle of summer, but I will keep this in mind!

Jeanne said...

Great minds definitely do think alike, what with out posting Brussels sprouts in the same week :) And it's so true abouy the traffic - people are clearly desperate for recipes to reinvent poor, unloved sprouts! Love the addition of pears!

Virginie said...

A very interesting combination.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan:

I just read your article (NPR news about the Kaki. I am originally from Brazil. We have two types of Kaki there, first is the soft Kaki and the second a hard Kaki similar to the ones I find here in the US. The soft Kaki is much sweeter and has a jello texture. The Kaki was brought to Brazil by the Japanese immigrants as well(1.5 million in Brazil) in 1908.

I really liked your article.


Fernando Medeiros

Anonymous said...

Hey, you make me crave for Brussels Sprouts even if I haven't eaten them yet :)


Anna (Morsels and Musings) said...

i wish i liked brussel sprouts. they are so pretty.

can't blame my family either, since i was never served them (good or bad) as a kid.

unfortunately, no matter how many times i try them, i still haven't developed a brussel-sprout-friendly-palate.

this recipe looks good though: the pear's sweetness would balance the bitterness of the sprouts! worth another try.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

wanm-They are remarkable sweet when roasted. Hope you try them!

nina-Please do!

jeanne-I think we performed a needed public service then! ;)

virigine-Thank you.

fernando-Thank you for dropping by. I'm so happy you enjoyed my NPR piece. Apparently the Japanese have mastered the persimmon and people from all over the world are benefiting.

gay-Now, that's a compliment! ;)

anna-Hey, maybe they're just not your food. Of course, the pears and walnut are rather persuasive. :)

Anonymous said...

This Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pears is fabulous, my children loved it, i will cook Roasted Brussels Sprouts again and try the easy and quick it will to make? my veggie husband will love it and I'm sure it'll be a big hit with the foodies!!

Joy said...

I didn't try this exact recipe, but my friend made roasted brussel spouts and pears last weekend - I'm pretty sure she basically baked a tray of brussel spouts with some cut-up pears - she might have squirted olive oil on them while they "roasted" but I'm not sure. Anyway, it was AMAZING. Most of this dish didn't make it to the table, it was so delicious, it started to disappear as soon as it came out of the oven. It was like eating candy!

Kim at Foodies Unite said...

talk about an evergreen post! Love it and thanks for the brussel sprout inspiration!