It took me forever to decide how to name this recipe. Each bite had me discovering a little something more than the one before. With inspiration that stemmed from an addicting little snack of Valdosta Pecan Mix, I think I’ve found fall comfort in these Orange Glazed Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash. My oh my, the makers of Sahale Snacks hit the nail on the head with this flavor pairing — black pepper dusted pecans, dried cranberries, & a touch of orange zest. A sweet & savory combo gets me every time.
I’d been eyeing the brussels sprouts arriving last week at the market, but I just wasn’t ready to give in to fall yet. However, a brisk, chilled air swept into Minnesota this weekend and with that I’ve surrendered. Bring on the comfort food and hearty soups, leggings, boots, and seat warmers.
And then came the HoneyNut Squash. While chatting with the “Squash Lady” at the St. Paul Farmer’s Market (seriously this lady knows and grows it all) about the squash cookbook I’m writing, she introduced me to this new hybrid butternut squash. Like a mini-me of the butternut, it usually only grows to be 4-5 inches long and weighs about a pound. As it grows, it’s skin color changes from chestnut to a rich burnt orange. Stunning.
As I snacked on the peppery pecans during my drive home, inspiration hit. Normally not a huge orange fan, its delicate presence in the mix got me thinking how it would brighten up a pan of sautéed brussels sprouts and squash, especially with a buttery glaze. Into the kitchen I went, trimming and dicing the vegetables to be sautéed in a hot pan. I mixed up the glaze of melted butter, Ames Farm Honey, orange zest and some more black pepper. Once the squash was caramelized and the brussels sprouts seared, I stirred in the pecan mix and coated it all in the bright, yet humble sauce.
The result – a departure from the classic and my new favorite side dish. Perfect alongside roast chicken, topped with a poached egg for a complete meal. And heaven forbid you don’t get a chance to make this dish, at least pick up a bag of Valdosta Pecans. So yum.
- 1 pound.brussels sprouts washed, trimmed and halved
- 1½ pounds butternut squash, peeled then diced into ½ in cubes (about 3 cups)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup Valdosta Pecan Mix (or ¾ cup toasted pecans + ½ cup dried cranberries)
- Mix together glaze and set aside before making vegetables:
- 2 tablespoons butter (or ghee), melted
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Swirl to coat pan, then add in squash. Stir the squash pieces so they are coated with oil and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt. Shake the pan so squash spreads out in an even layer and let cook, without stirring, so that they brown a bit on one side (several minutes). Stir and spread the pieces out again and let cook without stirring so more sides get browned. Let cook until the squash is soft, but holds it shape. (This will depend on the size you cut your squash so try one to test.) Once done, remove from heat and pour into a bowl.
- Heat the other tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat using the same pan. When it's very hot, place the brussels sprouts cut side down in the oil, sprinkling with ½ teaspoon salt. Turn the heat to medium, and sear on one side until nicely browned, about three minutes.
- Turn the brussels sprouts over and cook on the other side until nicely browned and tender, three to five minutes. Some of the leaves can be charred dark brown or black.
- Turn heat down to low and add the squash back to the pan, along with the pecan mix. Stir in the glaze and cook for a few minutes, coating all ingredients and warming through.