Roasted Autumn Vegetables
Brussels sprouts, carrots, winter squash, are a few of the late harvest vegetables that home gardeners enjoy in the late summer and early fall. Brussels sprouts are one of my favorites and I've been growing them for three decades in my garden. Not only do they have a long shelf life after harvesting, but they are cold hardy in my garden to 20 degrees F. I have harvested these veggies around Christmas and when stored under the proper conditions, I have enjoyed them during many Easter Sunday dinners.
They also pair nicely with carrots and squash, and the color contrast in this vegetable dish is striking.
History of Brussels Sprouts
The first thing I learned about this much maligned vegetable is that the name might not be the most accurate. There are many claims on where exactly Brussels sprouts originated, ranging from ancient China, to 13th century Belgium. Either way, eventually they traveled to North America with the colonists and the rest is history. In recent decades they've experience a renaissance of sorts. Chefs across the world have decided to understand the best ways to prepare and serve Brussels sprouts to great acclaim. Additionally, Scientists were able to identify the traits that caused the off smells and taste that turned off so many people from this nutrient loaded vegetable. Essentially, they went to the seed bank holding the diverse historical varieties of the vegetable, and searched for a variety that had less of the "sulfur" smelling compound in it's makeup. Once they identified these traits, they cross bred them with the disease resistant, high yield producing modern varieties.
Carrots or Squash
You can use either carrots or squash in this dish, the idea is to have a color contrast. I always follow the mantra, what you have on hand and in your fridge is what's for dinner. If you're planning it out though, baby carrots or a bag of precut squash cubes from the produce section work great if you don't have much time for prep.
What grade of Maple Syrup?
You can use any grade you have on hand, but I prefer a darker grade. Very Dark Strong Taste/Baking is my favorite grade for this dish because it pairs well with the vegetables natural taste.
Seared Brussels Sprouts
2 Tablespoons Butter
1/3 cup water
1 lb brussels sprouts
1 lb butternut squash or carrots cut in 1" cubes
1 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1. Combine butter, water, and brussels sprouts in a heavy bottom fry pan.
2. Cover and cook on medium high for five minutes
3. Add squash or carrots, salt and pepper. Toss and cover. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Uncover to evaporate water and slightly sear.
5. Toss with nutmeg, maple syrup and pecans.
6. Cook uncovered on low heat for two minutes.
I plated my dish with baked, breaded pork chops, mash potatoes and cherry tomatoes. I've also paired these vegetables with my apple cider pork loin recipe. Enjoy!