Saturday, November 27, 2010

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Molasses & Vanilla Pecan Butter

If you despise the taste of Brussels Sprouts, I urge you to keep reading. Seriously, I am a convert of the I-Hate-Brussels-Sprouts Camp.  Actually, I think Brussels sprouts are kinda cute-- like miniature cabbages, don't you think?  To some palates, they can pack a very strong taste, I admit.  My conversion began when I made Roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon.  Bacon makes most anything taste good? Are you feeling me? Then, Bobby Flay changed my opinion of Brussels sprouts forever.  I think he changed a multitude of hearts when he made this recipe on a recent Thanksgiving Feast Showdown with the very popular "Pioneer Woman".  I watched the episode (and I won't tell you who won, lest I spoil it for you).  I was intrigued by the components that Bobby Flay used-- Pomegranate Molasses... interesting, I thought.  Vanilla Bean -Pecan butter... Bobby, you're really talking to me, now.  He then sprinkles the roasted Brussels sprouts with pomegranate arils (that would be the beautiful seeds) For a final Ta-Da, freshly grated orange and lime zest.  Count me in!

I've never had pomegranate molasses, so I decided to research how to make it. It's very easy to make yourself, and I show you how here.  You can buy it, though I've never spotted it where I shop.

You need to make this Vanilla Bean - Pecan Butter.  Truly, you do.  Only, I'm going to show you how to make it right. I'm also going to share you with a nice little shortcut to using real vanilla bean. It's a lot cheaper, too.  Ready?  I buy Vanilla-Bean Paste.   Trust me, there is nothing wrong with using a real vanilla bean.  I just find them to be very sacred because they can be expensive.  I've purchased vanilla bean paste online, and have only recently discovered Singing Dog Vanilla products. I love the company, and their commitment to using sustainable ingredients.  In fact, being on the look-out for a Giveaway Promotion that I'll be posting very, very soon!  (My second anniversary is coming very  close...like in days.)

Whatever you do, don't use vanilla extract!  It's too potent for this recipe. (If you do, you'll be part of the family of folks who reviewed this recipe and complained that it was too sweet.) You're welcome.  To unsalted butter, you will add chopped toasted pecans and some vanilla bean seed (or vanilla bean paste). Mix it together and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  (I made something wonderful with the leftover butter, the next day. I'll post that later on.)

Now, you need to buy one Pomegranate.  Have you ever opened one up?  Neither had I!  But, I knew about the "under-water trick".  Why water?  Pomegranate seeds stain.  The water is a way to prevent the beautiful ruby-red juice from now staining your shirt, hands or anything else that's in the way.
First, put a couple of paper towels on your cutting board (unless you want a red-dyed cutting board).  Cut off the ends (I went a tad bit deep) and then score the sides, just until the pith (white stuff)...

In a bowl of water, begin to peel the Pomegranate.  The white stuff will float to the top, and the arils (seeds) will sink to the bottom.

Now, drain the bowl and pick out the white stuff that you missed.   That takes a little extra patience.
NOTE: It's a good idea to do this a day ahead of time.

I still had a little more picking cleaning to do....


Snacking on the pomegranate seeds brought back childhood memories of  my cousin's pomegranate tree.  These are so delicious and very healthy for you. Here's to Vitamin-C!!

I have a lot of arils left, but they are in an air-tight container, in my fridge.  They won't go to waste. 
Let's make Bobby Flay's recipe!  Let's begin with fresh Brussels sprouts.  Wash them, trim off the bottom end, and cut them in half.  You can use a baking sheet, but I like to use my cast-iron skillet. Add some coarse salt & pepper (to taste) and drizzle with a little canola (or olive) oil.  Your oven should be pre-heated to 375F.
Toss the vegetables and roast for 15-20 minutes.

Now drizzle 2-3 Tablespoons Pomegranate Molasses (and admire the rich color)...

...stir to combine and roast for about 3-4 minutes, more...
...let's get dramatic.  Add some Pomegranate Arils...



Look! Christmas Colors!

C'mon, doesn't that look good?  We're not through...

... add some pecan butter (go easy, you can always add more)

Sexy...colorful... want more?

...add fresh orange & lime zest.

VERDICT:  There is a good reason why Bobby Flay is a Food Network Iron Chef.  He has the gift of adding a variety of ingredients to create a symphony of flavor.  My taste buds worked overtime to process the zing of the pomegranate molasses, the sweet of the vanilla bean butter, the crunch of the pecans and the sweet-tart "pop of the pomegranate arils.  I truly loved this dish. Contrary to some reviewers who said this dish was too sweet-- I say that they took shortcuts that cheated them out of what Bobby Flay meant for this dish to be. It's colorful. It's flavorful. It's downright sexy.  I will make this for Christmas Eve dinner, for certain.  Brussels sprouts, you have arrived in my love life!

A printable recipe is at the bottom of this post.

Happy Holidays! One dish down and a few more to go!









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13 comments:

Faith said...

Oh goodness! That looks so good! Cant wait to try that. We were anti brussel sprout until last year when I made some that were roasted with walnuts and bacon. Now we love em!

Danielle said...

I'm going to give this a try. I've tried the brussel sprouts with bacon and even though it was an improvement, I have issues with the bitterness...but I think the molasses will make a huge difference :)
Btw...that was my favorite throw down!!!

Bonnie said...

I'm so glad you liked this recipe. I have all the ingredients in the fridge for tomorrow but I must admit I was a bit put off after reading the comments on the FN site. Thanks for the tip about the vanilla bean paste. I've never heard of it. Can't wait til tomorrow to try this recipe. We LOVE brussel sprouts at our house.

Anonymous said...

Another Brussel Sprout and Bacon convert here! This looks absolutely devine. I can't wait to try it. As for the bitterness with the bacon recipe. If you roast them and then saute them a bit with the bacon add 1/2 cup of cream and let them simmer for 15 min and it really helps cut the bitterness and they are oh so good! :)

Healthy and Homemade said...

My mom made the exact same thing this year! Absolutely amazing =)

From the Kitchen said...

Thank you Debbie and Bobby! I will venture a guess that I'm the only one of your commenters today that has a jar of pomegranate molasses in her pantry. However, I'm happy to have your recipe in case I ever find myself unable to get to an Arabic grocery store--the only place I've ever seen it. I'm also happy to have this recipe. We are a brussels sprout-loving household (well, two of us).

I love your photos too!

Best,
Bonnie

bellini valli said...

My daughter converted me to brussel sprouts last year. They were not allowed in the house up until that point.

Joanne said...

This recipe combines so many unlikely ingredients and yet, like you said, it definitely ends up being a true symphony. I am just amazed!

~Chris said...

That's funny, I made these too. I hate brussels sprouts, but half of the family goes for them, and I needed to make a new side, so I figured I'd give these a shot. I still won't go looking for them, but I definitely won't turn my nose up at them if someone plunks these in front of me again. I've eaten a bazillion pomegranates, but this was my first time making the molasses too. The butter was a big hit with some Swiss Cheese Knots I had baked to go along with dinner. So you're a convert and I'm a semi-convert. Thanks Bobby! ;)

Chow and Chatter said...

wow what an amazing recipe for Brussels sprouts love the colors :-)

Emily Z said...

I am not going to lie, I wrinkle my nose a little at this... I am wary of brussels sprouts. I don't know how my mom cooked them when I was a kid but the memory of them has left a very bad taste in my mouth. It's been years and years since I have tried, so who knows, maybe my taste has changed. The other ingredients with them do sound like a nice combination, though!

Kim said...

Oh my word Debby! I haven't seen the episode (my DVR failed on me) and these sprouts look and sound heavenly. Of course, your pictures do them wonderful justice. I have to make these....

Monica H said...

I saw this on the throwdown as well and it was the only thing they made all night that made me want to cringe. ha ha!

Now I think they're pretty to look at and I like the colors and textures but there's something about adding vanilla that turns me off. Maybe it's because I once had fish with a vanilla sauce that gives me nightmares. :)