Thursday, December 27, 2012

Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Garlic & Horseradish

Brussels Sprouts Recipe
Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that people either love or hate. Sadly, much of the hatred is due to a misunderstanding of how to prepare this nutritious relative of cabbage and broccoli. When properly cooked, their flavor is sweeter and milder than that of broccoli and their texture is toothsome like that of chard or kale. When overcooked (which is easy to do), however, Brussels sprouts lose their deep green color, develop an unpleasantly bitter and strong flavor, turn mushy and lose much of their nutritional value. Likewise, if your Brussels sprouts are large and/or past their prime, they are more likely to taste bitter.

For best flavor, buy very fresh, young Brussels sprouts that are small in size. Look for firm, tight little "heads" (technically buds) with jade-green leaves that aren't splotchy or yellowed. If buying frozen Brussels sprouts, choose bags labeled "baby" or "small," and buy organic if possible and within your budget. Cook them for as brief a time as possible, only until "al-dente" tender, and use methods like roasting, sauteing or frying in a little oil (e.g., stir-frying) or even steaming instead of boiling. Classic complementary seasonings include butter or olive oil, crispy bacon, garlic, dillweed, and horseradish. I've also seen recipes for baking Brussels sprouts in a cheesy casserole, but haven't tried doing that (yet).

The following recipe is one I came up with for Christmas dinner, and is based on a traditional British recipe that's much richer. Because we were having a smoked ham roast as the entree, I wanted the accompanying vegetable to be less heavy but still robust in flavor to complement and contrast the sweet flavor and buttery texture of the brown sugar & mustard-glazed ham roast (that recipe is coming soon). These Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Garlic & Horseradish were the result. You can add more horseradish if you prefer a spicier dish. This recipe serves 4 as a side dish.

Garlic Horseradish Brussels Sprouts
1 lb small Brussels sprouts
1 head of garlic (or 20 to 30 peeled garlic cloves)
Olive Oil for roasting the garlic & sauteing the Brussels sprouts
1 Tbs prepared horseradish
1 Tbs cider vinegar
1/2 tsp dried dillweed
Sea salt & ground black pepper to taste

Separate the head of garlic into cloves and peel (you can skip this step if you're using peeled garlic cloves). Toss in a small bowl with just enough olive oil to coat, then transfer to a roasting pan or a foil-covered baking sheet. Roast at 420°F in a preheated oven until golden-brown, about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring once or twice to ensure even roasting. When done, remove from oven and set aside. Note: You can save time and effort if you buy roasted garlic cloves, or if you use my Stovetop "Roasted" Garlic method.

While the garlic is roasting, wash the Brussels sprouts, trim the stem end (I usually slice off a thin sliver at the base) and cut in half through the stem end. Heat 1 to 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add Brussels sprouts halves and cook until just tender and cut side starts to turn light golden, stirring from time to time (to speed up the cooking process, you can cover the pan so that the Brussels sprouts "steam" while they cook - just be careful not to overcook them). Stir in horseradish, vinegar and the roasted garlic along with the oil used in roasting. Sprinkle with dillweed and salt & pepper to taste. Stir gently until thoroughly combined and heated through, then serve.

Zestfully yours,

PS:  If you love the sinus-clearing zing of real horseradish and the fiery kick of habanero peppers, check out Defcon Habby Pony Habanero Horseradish Sauce (mild) and Defcon Habby Horse Habanero Horseradish Sauce (hot), now available from Carolina Sauces!


  1. Awesome! Simply awesome...not a big Brussels sprout fan but my husband is so I thought I would give these a try. I had to let them sit while the rest of dinner finished cooking, couldn't stop snacking on them out of the pan!

    1. Hi Cathy,
      I'm thrilled that you enjoyed my recipe, especially since you're not a Brussels sprouts fan! Thank you so much for making it and taking the time to let me know that you liked it. Best wishes for 2013, and thanks for reading my blog.
      Zestfully yours,