Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Project Brussels Sprouts

As I have for the past several years, I will be hosting Thanksgiving in a few weeks.  I actually really like doing this, because I love to cook (duh) and I love to feed people (double duh).  I decided that this year, I'd try to be a little fancier and do some recipe tasting before the big day.  Next week, I will likely do mashed potatoes, but last night, I did Brussels sprouts.

I feel like Brussels sprouts get a bad rap, but with somewhat of a good reason.  They kind of smell and they tend to...bring gas.  I actually never ate them until about a year or so ago; up until that point, I assumed I didn't like them, since I'm apparently 4.  But, roasted with some kind of sauce, they're pretty good.  Many recipes call for bacon, but since most of my Thanksgiving guests are vegetarian, I skipped that.  Not going to lie, I regret this decision a little.  Or a lot.  Maybe I'll serve a side of bacon for the big meal.

I bought a ton of the sprouts (seriously, cleared out the grocery store of them), and then prepped them all in advance.  To prep, just cut off the end and then chop in half.  Remove any leaves that look particularly icky. You could quarter them if you wanted, but I find that they hold their shape better if you half them. 

Then, I did three different preparations for the sprouts.  Afterwards, I ate more little tiny cabbages than any one person should in a sitting

First: Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Smokey Bacon

Obviously, for me, the title is a bit of a lie, as I didn't actually use the bacon. 

Bunch o' Brussels
6 Cloves Garlic, minced or pressed (I actually only used three, since mine were gigantic)
2 Tablespoons Mustard
2 Tablespoons Honey
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
Salt and Pepper

Mix everything except the sprouts in a jar.  Pour over the sprouts and put into a 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until all nice and roasty.

Second: Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Again, I skipped the pig, which I actually think was quite detrimental to the recipe.  It just needed a little something extra.

More baby cabbages
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Mix everything together in a bowl.  Throw on a pan and roast in the oven.  They, apparently, should go for less time than the ones above, as these got a little over crisp.

Third: Garlic Ginger Brussels Sprouts

These are slightly more complicated, but not overly so.  I actually think they'd be a great idea for Thanksgiving for the simple reason that you cook them on the stove, not in the already overloaded oven.

The last of your absurd bag of Brussels sprouts
6 Cloves Garlic, minced or pressed (I actually only used three again)
2 Tablespoons Ginger, grated
4 Tablespoons Oil (the recipe says Canola, I used olive because that's all I had)
2 Teaspoons Soy Sauce
Crushed Red Pepper

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  When it's hot in herr, add the sprouts.

Let them brown for 2-4 minutes before messing with them.  Then, stir a bit, so they can get somewhat evenly browned.

After they're nice a brown, add the garlic and ginger.  Let cook for 2-3 more minutes.

When they're done, add in the soy sauce, salt, and red pepper. 

The Verdict:

Overall, as a straight side dish, I liked the first ones the best.  I think that the honey and mustard sauce really add a little something special.  So, if you're coming over for Thanksgiving, you're eating these.

The other two were definitely good, but I think they'd be better as a dish component, not a stand alone side. The balsamic ones were just a little meh, but I think added to a salad with some nuts and cheese or on a pizza they'd be great.  The garlic ginger ones would be awesome in a stir fry or with some fish.

Despite the lingering smell of cabbage in my home (gotta open the windows...), I'm actually really glad I did this.  Many people say you should always try new recipes before serving them to guests, and I hardly ever do, so this was definitely a great experiment.  Go forth and eat Brussels sprouts!

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