Christmas Dinner: Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

My friend Mary Kate took me to Founding Farmers in Washington, D.C. two or three years ago for the first time. It has since become a must visit on my annual trip to our nation’s capital for work, and I have had the pleasure of introducing others to the tremendous farm-to-table menu that is served in Foggy Bottom.

Before Christmas, an Amazon.com box arrived in the mail. I thought I had accounted for all of my Christmas-related purchases, so I was surprised when I opened it and found The Founding Farmers Cookbook: 100 Recipes for True Food & Drink from the Restaurant Owned by American Family Farmers, a Christmas gift from Mary Kate, inside. 

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It was a wonderful, but completely unnecessary, gift that I immediately opened and looked through. I had been looking for a Christmas Day veggie and, if anyone would have a worthy entry, it was going to be the geniuses at Founding Farmers. (I sent her a FF gift card.)

I have to be careful with my Christmas crowd. They are largely receptive to my out-of-the-box cooking, but they are not adventurous. When I explained that it was maple-roasted Brussels sprouts in the bowl, I got skepticism but a willingness to try. It seemed to go over well with everyone, as the maple syrup either enhanced or masked the flavor of the veggies. Combined with the salty pancetta, the maple really complemented the earthy Brussels sprouts.

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Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Adapted lightly from The Founding Farmers Cookbook: 100 Recipes for True Food & Drink from the Restaurant Owned by American Family Farmers

  • 2 lbs. Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, unmelted
  • 2 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 oz. pancetta or bacon, diced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • Generous pinch of freshly cracked black pepper

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Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with 1/4 cup of melted butter, 1 3/4 tsp. of salt and the granulated garlic, until the veggies are well-coated in butter. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer the sprouts to it. Roast 20 minutes, or until the sprouts are brown and crisp around the edges.

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Melt the remaining butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the mustard, minced garlic, pancetta, and Worcestershire to the pan, and use a wooden spoon to mix together. Transfer the sprouts to the pan and toss to coat in the butter mixture. Cook 1 to 2 minutes in the butter, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Sprinkle with remaining salt, and stir in the maple syrup.

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Serve immediately.

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