I hate to admit it but I’ve had 22 Christmases to perfect this veg and I think I finally got it! Every year Odd specifically asks for brussels sprouts and every year I’ve tried different recipes. I’ve tried sautéing shredded sprouts, steaming them whole and braising them with bacon in the oven – because bacon does make everything taste better! I’ve even sent some along to a company Christmas pot luck (just so Odd thinks “I’m really trying”). I guess they weren’t half bad since I got a request for the recipe – that’s because of the bacon, right?
The problem is that every year I make them for our Christmas Eve dinner at home and the kids won’t go near them with a ten foot pole. See photo above. I should say the “kids” are nearing adulthood so I’m hoping this year will be different. Who am I kidding??
Last year, I was at Kroger a couple days after Thanksgiving and I saw two young girls and a mom searching high and low for brussels sprouts. I could hear them chattering away and one of the little girls couldn’t wait to have it again for dinner. I kindly directed them to the brussels sprouts display. They were super excited. They were jumping up and down. Whaaaaaat?? How can kids be so excited over this veg that I dread making at Christmas. It’s an underwhelming feeling when there is a look of disappointment every time I present it on our table next to surkål (a Norwegian sweet cabbage side dish with caraway seeds) – also a very highly passed over dish I have grown to love, but the “kids” have not accepted. I digress. How has this mom perfected brussels sprouts so that her 8 – 9 year olds can’t get enough of it even after the holiday?
Well I think I’ve found the answer. It’s all in the power of simplicity. Keeping it simple is underrated. This past year, I have been practicing every chance I get and have finally embraced caramelized brussels sprouts. Plus I see them, forgive the pun, “sprouting” in restaurants everywhere. Well, I exaggerate. I saw them accompanying the “unfried chicken” at LYFE Kitchen in Plano in July/August before I moved. Seriously, who knew? I thought they were a winter veg. On a side note, I do like the LYFE Waters especially the Cucumber Mint and Orange Ginger with Chia seeds…and Lisa, if you’re reading, I did go back there two more times after we had lunch there. Sooo good and healthy – even the corn chowder is made with cashew cream. I digress again.
Thanks to Ina Garten I’m hoping when the “boys” come home for Christmas this year, they’ll be reaching for seconds…maybe I’m too hopeful. Regardless, these are ridiculously delicious not just during the holidays but any time of the year if they’re available in your neck of the woods. I pair them with everything from Cottage Pie to Grilled Salmon and everything in between.
Sometimes the leaves fall off and crisp up almost like potato chips. That’s my favorite part. I’m swirling in a pile of fall leaves. Crinkle, crackle, crunch. Yummm…
1 pound brussels sprouts
2 – 3 carrots, peeled and sliced on a diagonal (optional)
3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
Place in a single layer, cut side down on a sheet pan lined with foil (for easy clean up). Do not overcrowd so they roast, not steam. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 – 30 minutes, turning over about halfway through cooking. Ina Garten says 35 – 40 minutes but I usually pull mine out around 25 minutes since I like mine tender. Experiment and see what suits you.Adjust seasonings to your liking. Enjoy!
I could snack on these just like this. Crispy on the outside, tender in the center. Simple, healthy and delicious. Nearing 23 Christmases. Well it’s about time. Ina Garten, you’re a rock star in my eyes.