How was your Thanksgiving? I hope you had a safe and special time with family and friends. Although I did cook a mini Thanksgiving dinner for our family the Sunday before the big day, I wasn’t taxed for the actual holiday, asked to bring an appetizer to our gathering. Having recently watched Ina’s newest show on Food Network where she cooked one of the apps from her latest cookbook, Kielbasa with Mustard Sauce I decided to go with that and it was very well received. I used turkey Kielbasa, but you could pair it with almost any type of sausage and the mustard sauce itself is so versatile and would be delicious as a condiment with meat or chicken or as a dip for pretzel sticks.
Since it’s no surprise how much I enjoy Ina, I was intrigued when she mentioned on her Instagram that she was a guest on a new podcast by weatherman extraordinare, Al Roker from The Today Show. Now, I’m not the best at listening to podcasts because I am such a visual person but for some reason if they are in a question and answer format and both the interviewer and the guest are intriguing then I can pay attention most of the time! So, I decided to give Al’s podcast a whirl and his episode with Ina was fun (she always is having fun isn’t she?).
The name of the podcast is Cooking Up a Storm and the premise is that Al is cooking Thanksgiving dishes with some of his famous friends. Ina’s contribution to the table were her Parmesan Smashed Potatoes which, interestingly enough, is a recipe from her very first cookbook that I clearly overlooked. They were on my table not too long after I listed to the podcast, served to guests and they were so delicious owing to the butter, cream and sour cream but it’s the holidays so… It’s funny how a simple recipe can pass you by and reminds me to go back to some of my favorite cookbooks and explore more dishes.
The success of any podcast or tv show about food depends on the host’s ability to convey the aroma, flavor and texture of the food since you are neither smelling or tasting anything! Also, tips on execution are important since it’s often the little steps that makes a recipe successful. With a podcast, these elements are particularly important since you are only listening and I have to say Al is a good host and the guests I’ve listened to so far are pros.
So as I was scrolling through the small list of episodes, I clicked on Episode 4 with Marcus Samuelsson who was preparing Caramelized Brussels Sprouts. If you don’t know Marcus, he is one of the happiest, most smiley chefs I’ve ever watched and he is really delightful. I have never been to his restaurants, most notable his first Red Rooster in Harlem, or prepared any of his recipes but thought he would be fun to listen to in the kitchen.
Now, I knew that Marcus was from Sweden but what I didn’t know was that he was born in Ethiopia and at the age of 1 his mother, sister and he went to the hospital with Tuburculosis and only his sister and he survived. A kind nurse took them under her care who thought to help them escape the turmoil in Ethiopia at the time by connecting them with a Swedish adoption agency. Born Kassahun Joar Tsegie, Marcus and his sister Linda (born Fantaye) were adopted by Anne-Marie and Lennart Samuelsson and the rest is history. Marcus was inspired to cook by his maternal grandmother but his style incorporates influences not only of Sweden, his homeland of Ethiopia where his father still resides, and his adopted home of New York City.
On the podcast, Marcus was preparing Caramelized Brussels Sprouts but not just any old way. His variation uses a spice called Berbere that believe it or not, I had in my pantry as I had wanted to try another recipe (never did) using the spice mix and purchased it on Amazon (similar here). According to Marcus, Berbere is the spice mix essential to Ethiopian cooking and is used to flavor all kinds of dishes. It is a combination of spices including paprika, cayenne, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, garlic, onion, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom and salt – phew! It’s like a curry mix of sorts and I’m sure they vary in levels of heat. The brand I purchased was very mild.
As I was listening I thought – bingo, a use for the spice I have never used! He began by tossing the sprouts and some sliced garlic with olive oil, the Berbere spice, some finely chopped fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. The sprouts were roasted at a high temperature. In the meanwhile, you prepared a dressing that used some sliced shallot, chopped unsalted peanuts for texture, sherry vinegar and maple syrup. With his mention of sherry vinegar, one of my favorites, I knew this was a recipe I was meant to make!
Toss the warm sprouts with the dressing, adding some chopped fresh parsley and pomegranate seeds before plating. Really easy to execute and very pretty to look at, especially during the holidays…
It might look like lots of other brussels sprouts recipes but I promise you the flavor here is really unique. A little smokey and spicy from the Berbere, sweet from the maple syrup, tangy from the sherry vinegar and earthy from the rosemary. The pomegranate seeds provide a little citrusy note and texture, along with the chopped peanuts. You could swap out other nuts if you wanted.
I’ve made this twice, for dinner with my family enjoyed by all and next for the blog and I have to say the second time was better for a few reasons. First, I lowered the oven temperature to 425 from 450 recommended so the sprouts wouldn’t get too charred. And second, I used larger sprouts. The first time I found sprouts in netting that were pretty small. This time, I was at a market where I picked the sprouts myself from a pile and they were all on the larger size which I think makes a nicer presentation yet they are still easy to eat in one bite. For really large sprouts, I cut them in 3 pieces but most could just be halved.
Is it a side dish, yes. Could it be swapped out for a salad? Kind of. It has similar elements, minus the lettuce in my opinion. Should you try it? Definitely and I hope you will for one of your celebrations this season.
I am hoping to be back next week with a recipe for apres-dinner and then the following week with a cocktail/mocktail situation, stay tuned!
Until next time…
One Year Ago: Korean Lettuce Wraps
Two Years Ago: Travel Post – The Cotswolds (take me back!!!)
Three Years Ago: Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts
Four Years Ago: Southwest King Casserole
Five Years Ago: Salmon with Orange Marmalade and Thyme
Six Years Ago: Homemade Salt Scrubs
Seven Years Ago: Dumpling Daughter in Weston, Massachusetts
This recipe comes from chef, Marcus Samuelsson. Marcus appeared on Al Roker's podcast, Cooking Up a Storm to share this recipe. My only modification was to reduce the oven cooking temperature by 25 degrees, otherwise the flavors here cover all the basis and it is sure to be a beautiful addition to your holiday tables. You can purchase the Berbere seasoning online, or make one of your own if you like. Based on Marcus's tip in the podcast, I believe you can substitute smoked paprika in a pinch with good results. Enjoy!
- 1 pound Brussels Sprouts
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped, reserving 1/4 teaspoon for the dressing
- 1 teaspoon Berbere seasoning (or smoked paprika)
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, rough chop
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- Prehat the oven to 425 degrees with the rack in the middle.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice the brussels sprouts in half through the root end, in threes if they are large and remove any tough outer leaves.
- In a large bowl, toss the brussels sprouts with 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, most of the rosemary, the Berbere and a sprinkling of salt and pepper until really well combined. If any of the sprouts look dry, keep tossing or add just a smidge more of olive oil.
- Place the sprouts on the parchment lined baking sheet and roast until lightly caramelized and cooked, about 15 minutes (note that smaller sprouts will cook faster so please keep an eye on them).
- While the sprouts are roasting, warm the remaining 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet large enough to hold the sprouts. Add the shallots and peanuts and cook, stirring often, until the shallots are softened and the peanuts are lightly toasted, about 4 minutes.
- Add the rosemary, maple syrup, vinegar and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and stir to combine. Add the roasted sprouts, the parsley and the pomegrante seeds and toss gently to combine. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!
Looks delish Val! Love Ina, as you know! 🙂 Your serving platter is beautiful. Xo
Perfect recipe for the holidays! We’re big brussel sprouts fans at my house, so I’m definitely going to try it!!
Yum!! I’m going to seek out the Berbere spice mix. I went to Red Rooster years ago. Delicious very fun. Missing you and hope to see you sometime soon!