Fresh produce in the winter time was limited where we grew up. During the holidays my mom would buy frozen brussels sprouts to cook up with our turkey. Her cooking method of choice was to boil and serve as is. I found them lacking in flavour and tough to swallow so I avoided whenever possible. Brussels sprouts entered my life again in the mid 90’s while living in Vancouver. I was able to experience them sauteed, crispy and full of flavour, and I was hooked. Husband also grew up eating them boiled but with a little encouragement, my simple tastes man has learned to love them sauteed as much as I do.
Lately the trend is to cook your brussels sprouts with bacon or pork of some sort. The added fat gives the sprouts a burst of flavour, but I was looking for something new when I created this recipe. I was also looking to make it gluten free for a magazine. I love to saute my brussels sprouts in sesame oil and decided to add some nuts. Toasted some walnuts in a pan, added a splash of maple syrup at the end, and ended up with candied walnuts that were insanely delicious. The dish started to come together. We are lucky to live where we do where relatively fresh produce is more readily available in the winter time. This year I noticed brussels sprouts in the stores all year long and I definitely made it a point to eat them regularly.
This recipe was one of three I made for the magazine. We also created Roasted and Fresh Carrots with Lentils and Lemon Roasted Potatoes with a Parsley Pistou. Any of these dishes pair well with a big Thanksgiving, Easter or Christmas Dinner.
- 1 lb (2 cups) Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- ½ cup unbleached walnuts
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- Salt & pepper
- In a small pot add orange juice and bring to a boil. Add cranberries, and remove from heat. Set aside for about 15 minutes to plump. Strain and set liquid aside.
- Heat a large frying pan and add walnuts. Stir regularly and cook for a couple minutes ensuring not to burn. Turn off heat and add maple syrup – it will sizzle. Stir nuts around to fully coat and pour onto parchment lined sheet and let cool for about 10 minutes. Once cooled break apart.
- In a large pan, heat olive oil and sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add brussels sprouts, pinch of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add ¼ cup of water and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and pour onto serving plate. Season with salt & pepper as needed, garnish with cranberries and walnuts. Finish with a drizzle of the leftover orange juice.