Many people love Brussels sprouts and with fall being the best season for them, I give you ham, leek and sprouts as a great new way to enjoy this fall favourite. With Thanksgiving just around the corner in my part of the planet, I’m inspired to post dishes that are timely. Fall conjures up ideas of hearty dishes, roasted delights and sweet, pungent, spice-infused flavours.
I was raised on boiled sprouts for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I was ripe for having my horizons expanded on the subject. My wife, a fantastic cook in her own right (see The Restricted Kitchen blog for more) introduced me to sprouts fried with bacon and sour cream. What an eye-opener that was!
One chef friend of mine browns them in a deep fryer and tops them with a drizzle of truffle oil and a sprinkle of asiago cheese. Sure fire crowd pleaser, that one. It almost makes you want to get a deep fryer in your kitchen, right? So, you see, friends, there are so many ways to enjoy the oft-misunderstood Brussels sprout. Here’s mine….
Roast them up tossed in a bit of oil (or truffle oil if you’re feeling fancy and have some on hand) with chopped leeks to impart a bit of subtle soulfulness to the dish. Ham can be substituted for bacon (or left out altogether if you prefer a vegetarian or vegan style). If doing that, I’d recommend cutting back on the oil and lightly sautéing the whole works in the bacon fat prior to roasting it all up.
Once the sprouts are starting to go a golden brown and crisp up around the edges, thats where the texture and flavour are intersecting just right. Any less and the sprouts could be still too tough; any more and you risk them going mushy.
Served alongside roasted turkey or roast beef with some hearty squash or potatoes, this side is a winner among classics.
Give it a go; you’ll be glad you did!
Ham, Leek & Sprouts
- Sheet pan or oven-safe frying pan
- Mixing bowl
- 1 whole leek cut into 1/4" coins
- 1/2 lb Brussels sprouts cut in half
- 4 oz ham diced into 1/4" cubes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 350F (180C)
- Wash and chop the leek into coins. If you like, you can cut them into half-moons to facilitate washing. Toss them into a mixing bowl.
- Cut the butts off the sprouts and remove the loose outer leaves and cut them in half. Toss them into the mixing bowl
- Dice the ham and toss it into the mixing bowl.
- Add the oil, salt, pepper, caraway and thyme to the mixing bowl and make sure everything is evenly seasoned and oiled.
- Place it onto a papered sheet pan or into an oven safe frying pan and roast for about 20 minutes until the sprouts become golden brown and get a tad crispy around the edges.
- Remove from the oven and serve alongside your favorite entree.