Brussels sprouts did not used to be a food I enjoyed. Like many people, I grew watching television comedies with scenes of kids feeding their Brussels sprouts to the family dog, just to get out of eating those terrible things. I am not sure that I even tried them growing up and never really wanted to. Then one lucky thanksgiving about 6 years ago, my stepmom prepared them. When she first told me that they were going to be one of the sides she was serving, I was a bit nervous. I must have made a face, because she went on to assure me they would be delicious. She sautéed them with butter and walnuts, and they were amazing. Thus began my love affair with Brussels sprouts. I make them often, roasting or sautéing, adding different varieties of oils, spices and sometimes parmesan cheese. I also tend to order them when I am out at restaurants. If you are someone who has not tried them, or unfortunate enough to have only tried them boiled or steamed, I highly recommend giving them another shot – you have no idea what you are missing! I can say with all honesty, they are one of my favorite vegetables and more recently a favorite of my husband. I now always hope to see them on the table at Thanksgiving.
At Thanksgiving I am usually in charge of the pies. Most years I make apple pie with fresh whole cranberries mixed into the filling. I love the way the cranberries add a tart pop in your mouth and they look beautiful. One problem is, I do not use nearly the whole bag of the cranberries for the pie, so I am always looking for other ways to use them up. This recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts with cranberries is just the solution….a little savory, a little sweet, and a tangy pop from the cranberries. Plus, it looks beautiful on the table.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cranberries with Orange and Leek Vinaigrette
1 pound Brussels sprouts -halved
¾ cup fresh whole cranberries
salt, pepper, hot red pepper
½ leek – chopped
1 orange – zest and juice
¼ cup toasted hazelnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Toss Brussels sprouts, 1¼ tablespoons of olive oil, teaspoon of salt, teaspoon black pepper and a pinch of hot red pepper on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle the whole cranberries evenly over the Brussels sprouts. Roast in oven for 15-20 minutes until brown on edges and tender. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, sauté chopped leeks with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet on medium until soft. Add to a bowl with zest and juice of 1 medium orange, mix. Drizzle juice mixture over the warm Brussels sprouts and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle toasted hazelnuts on top. Add additional salt and pepper as desired.