Char-Roasted Brussel Sprouts take on a new sweetness from caramelization and can make converts out of the most steadfast of sprout-haters.
I, myself, have never been a huge fan of the little green spheres at the best of times, but, when roasted with the right seasonings, and alongside other vegetables for extra flavor, they can turn out very nicely indeed.
Today, I have not provided a comprehensive recipe for you, rather I have just documented one way I cooked them as a general starting-point for you to play with in the kitchen…
For this particular veggie roast, I trimmed the stems and removed the coarse outer leaves from a 1lb package of Brussels sprouts, then peeled two parsnips and cut them into irregular chunks about the same size as the sprouts. To this, I added some baby red potatoes (about 8 or 9), a very small onion, coarsely chopped, and then tossed everything with about ¼ cup of olive oil, a teaspoon of garlic salt and some fresh thyme.
I dithered a little over whether to cut the sprouts and potatoes in half and then finally decided to keep them whole. In retrospect, I think going with halves would have been better. These particular sprouts were just a little too big for a mouthful and, though the potatoes cooked well enough, I rather like the golden crispiness you get on the cut surfaces.
I started roasting some Prime Beef Rib ‘Finger’ Bones about 20 minutes before adding the veggies. They threw off just enough fat to ‘oil’ the bottom of the roasting pan and add some additional flavor to everything else.
As you can see, the veggies are fairly loosely spread out over the pan and all but some of the onion pieces are in contact with the bottom. I roasted at 425 degrees for about 40 minutes and tossed the pieces with a spoon about halfway through.
Apologies for not taking a picture further along during the cooking process, or of a serving portion plated along with the meat, but you can see the final appearance of the veggies in the initial photograph. The blackened appearance of the sprouts may look a little alarming, and suggest overcooking, but… and you have to trust me on this… the real sweetness of the sprouts will not come through unless they have a good bit of charring on the outer surfaces.
Anyway, there is no doubt that roasting significantly changes the character of Brussels sprouts by diminishing the rather sulfurous, cabbage-like quality and gives them a sweetness and mellow nuttiness. In truth, I doubt you will convince young kids to suddenly love them this way but many adults who don’t usually care for the vegetable may become converts after trying these.