One of my favorite winter greens are those cute little cabbages know as Brussel sprouts. They are easy to fix in a million ways and bring a real freshness to wintertime meals. They are a family favorite with us now, but that used to not be the case. Years ago when I was much, much less experienced in the kitchen I tried boiling them, steaming them—all to everyone’s disappointment. Then I found recipes for shredding them and sautéing them. That changed everything.
Brussel sprouts always end up on holiday menus, whether shredded and sautéed or roasted and caramelized. So I’m sharing a newer recipe here, one that also includes red-skinned potatoes. Actually any white potato will do, but the red skins make a festive presentation, so go with those if available.
The other plus for this particular recipe is that it is super easy, can be made ahead a bit and is done entirely on the stovetop, leaving your oven free for turkeys, chickens or hams. The Sprouts and Spuds pair beautifully with holiday meats, but we vegetarians can make a meal of them. Makes great leftovers too, maybe served with eggs for a light dinner. So make a bunch—easily doubled as long, as your chef’s skillet is big enough. Let’s get started!
- One-quarter cup olive oil
- Four cups diced red potatoes, washed but not peeled
- One-half cup chopped shallots or yellow onion (Go with shallots if you can.)
- Two large cloves garlic, minced
- Six cups shredded Brussel sprouts
- Zest and juice of one large lemon (Lemon is critical—don't skimp.)
- Sprinkle of red pepper flakes (I like Aleppo pepper flakes, but any will do as long as you are mindful of your level of heat. Aleppo flakes are more flavorful than they are hot.)
- One tablespoon fresh herbs of choice—I like rosemary and thyme here.
- Two tablespoons pure maple syrup
- Two tablespoons unsalted butter
- One-half cup toasted and chopped cashews (Or nut of choice—it's optional.)
- Coarse sea salt to taste
- Add olive oil to a large chef’s skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add your diced potatoes, being mindful of splatter. Salt well and stir well. Reduce the heat to medium. Sticking is expected and just fine because you’ll deglaze with the lemon juice later on and will want all that fond to create flavor. Cover the potatoes and let them cook while you prepare the onion and garlic and sprouts, about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- Once the potatoes are becoming tender, add the onion and garlic with another sprinkle of salt and stir to combine. Cook the mixture for another 10 to 15 minutes without the lid. You want the potatoes near done and the onions and garlic shiny and soft.
- Once you are there, add all the shredded sprouts, a sprinkle of salt and the pepper flakes, and stir well. You can add a bit of extra oil if you need but no more than a tablespoon or two. Cook and stir for three or four minutes until the sprouts begin to wilt.
- Place the lid on and turn the heat to low. You can simmer this for 15 to 20 minutes, with a close eye and an occasional stir. You can also just keep this warm on the back of your stove if you have a lot of other dishes going for up to an hour if you are careful.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter with the maple syrup and keep warm.
- When you are ready to plate—I like to serve in a big pretty bowl—bring the heat in your skillet back up to medium-high and pour in the lemon juice; stir to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the good flavor you can.
- Once everything is heated through, remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest, fresh herbs and melted butter-syrup mixture. Check your salt. Toss well, plate and top with toasted nuts.
Note that the cook time refers to cooking the dish start to finish and serving immediately. But as mentioned, you can keep this warm for a while if there is a lot going on in your kitchen.
And that’s it! The taste is far more sophisticated than the preparation would suggest. It’s the maple and butter at the end, I think. There is a balance that happens at that point that is really special. Also, the lemon is critical because it creates a freshness with the herbs and zest that will complement the richer, heavier foods on the table. Very light and flavorful.
Holidays should not be stressful, but, of course, good luck with that. I have spent a lot of hours in the kitchen making complicated dishes for the holiday table or other special occasions. They were delicious, but simple can be just as tasty. This dish speaks to that concept for sure.