Every family has a collection of Thanksgiving side dishes that absolutely have to be there or it Just Wouldn't Be Thanksgiving. That's fine—let them have their sweet potatoes glazed in Tang with Lucky Charms marshmallows. You can slip in these pan-roasted Brussels sprouts too, and if you're lucky they might even become a new tradition.
Those classic Thanksgiving dishes often incorporate nuts and something sweet. By lightly candying the pumpkin seeds (pepitas), much like you would walnuts for a salad, we incorporate the caramelized sweetness and crunch to balance the slightly tart hit of cider vinegar in the sauce. Be sure and add the pumpkin seeds at the very last minute, otherwise they will get soggy.
Don't forget to taste and adjust the salt in each step of this recipe. The right amount of salt will really make the flavors sing.
- 1/2 cup hulled green pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 medium white onion, finely diced
- 1.5 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
- 2.5 tablespoons good tasting apple cider vinegar
In a small skillet over medium low heat, toast the pumpkin seeds until lightly brown and aromatic. Add the sugar and a big pinch of salt and stir until the sugar melts and caramelizes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Melt two tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add the brussel sprouts and two big pinches of salt. Toss in the butter, and then spread out into an even layer. Turn them occasionally, but allow them to caramelize on the bottom. Keep cooking until they are quite tender when piereced with a fork. Taste and adjust salt. Remove with a slotted spoon to your serving bowl.
Reduce the heat to low and add the apple cider vinegar. Use a spatula to scrape all of the delicious crusty bits into the vinegar. Break the remaining three tablespoons of butter up and whisk them into the vinegar. Add a pinch of salt. Add the sprouts back in and toss them in the sauce. Return to the serving bowl.
Just before serving, break up the pumpkin seeds (they will have stuck together from the sugar) and stir 2/3 of them into the sprouts. Garnish with the remaining 1/3.