This dish is the perfect combination of simple and complex. It's easy to make yet the flavors complement each other so wonderfully, that it appears more complex than it really is. I most certainly did not grow up eating Brussels Sprouts, but I did grow up in eating kumquats, as there are kumquat trees aplenty in south Louisiana (but certainly no Brussels sprouts!). When I was in Louisiana over Thanksgiving, I had a friend bring some by. I knew that I wanted to try roasting them with Brussels sprouts!
Kumquats are really unique because they're like tiny oranges, but you can eat them whole--peel and all. This is likely because they're too small to bother with peeling. The taste can be a little bitter, but the peel makes them packed with flavor. When I first made Brussels Sprouts, about a year ago, I was told that I should cook them in bacon fat. Although I will indulge in pork occasionally, having bacon fat as a mandatory ingredient for my Brussels Sprouts was far from enticing.
However, I do love the smoky flavor that smoked meats impart. So, when I came across Runamok's Pecan-Smoked Maple Syrup, I knew it would be something really excellent to complement these tiny green cabbages. Plus, the sugar from the maple syrup helps these veggies caramelize, making them all the tastier!
I didn't exactly measure the amount of Brussels Sprouts I used, but I did roast them in two batches because I didn't want to crowd them. If you place too many on the pan you use, they'll steam instead of getting that wonderfully brown color and flavor.
I also used these tips from the New York Times on how to cook Brussels Sprouts.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Kumquats
1 and 1/2 pounds Brussels Sprouts, rinsed, bottoms trimmed and halved 1/4 cup kumquats, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon pecan-smoked maple syrup salt pepper 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds 2 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon pecan-smoked maple syrup (whisk to combine).
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment Paper.
Rinse your Brussels sprouts, trim the bottoms and cut in half. If they are quite large, you may quarter them. Remove any loose sprout leaves. (If you attempt to roast any loose leaves, they will burn and be quite charred.) Rinse the kumquats and slice (the kumquats have a strong flavor so it's best to slice them quite thinly. Add the sprouts and kumquats to a large bowl. Stir in the olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper.
Place all of the sprout-kumquat mixture on the lined baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes in all, stirring every 10 minutes. Watch them carefully--if they start to become too brown, you may remove them.
Remove the sprouts and top with fresh pomegranate seeds, desired amount of vinaigrette, and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.