brussel sprouts plus

So trying to think up a good side for Thanksgiving 2019 and brussel sprouts come to mind, but we need to sexy them up a bit. It turns that these formerly neglected veggies have found new interest recently, in part because some enterprising cross breading Europeans decided to improve their taste and smell in the 1990s, if we can believe what we hear on NPR. Anyway we've liked them for quite a few years but why not accent their flavor some way? A little web searching does not result in a concrete recipe, though some ideas occur, so we decide to wing it. We love leeks, and fennel, and onion and garlic. And pine nuts for a little contrast.

Chef ani executes the plan based on bob's whimsical guidance. First heating up some oil and butter in her new deep straight sided Tfal large nonstick frypan that Costco seduced her into buying (cheaply) as a replacement for our perfectly fine (expensive) Calphalon nonstick but slanted less deep sided pan. Then in go the chopped onions and leeks with some salt, then the thinly sliced fennel. After softening them up, then left for a while on low heat, then some pressed garlic and freshly ground pepper and some Aleppo red pepper. Meanwhile we microwaved the recipe ready baby brussel sprouts from Trader Joe's, two bags since we are having a big family dinner. And combined the stuff together. Waiting for the next day (Thanksgiving) to add the toasted pine nuts. But already the smell was incredible, and the variations of glistening shades of green ingredients so inviting. It has to be good, or this attempt to memorialize the dish will have been in vain. 


2-3 T olive oil and 2 T butter
1/2 onion (or more, this one was left over from something else)
2 leeks, cut lengthwise in half, then laterally in 1/4 inch strips
1 large fennel bulb cleaned up and thinly sliced
2 16 oz bags frozen baby brussel sprouts, or regular ones cleaned and halved, cooked separately
1 large garlic clove, pressed
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
a touch of Aleppo red pepper, to taste
1/2 c toasted pine nuts.


  1. Wait, didn't we already do this in the main text?  Okay, let's enumerate the steps anyway.
  2. Prepare your brussel sprouts if you are not using the recipe ready babies from Trader Joe's. Those you can put in a microwave basket-whatever to heat on high 6 minutes, then mix 'em up and hit 'em with another 6 minutes. For regular sprouts, steam or microwave, however you prefer. Then set aside.
  3. Toast the pine nuts in a nonstick pan without burning them. Set aside.
  4. Get your onion, leeks, and fennel cleaned up and then sliced into thin strips.
  5. Heat up the oil and butter and throw in the stripped veggies with a sprinkling of salt to bring out their flavors (I am guessing?) and saute until softened. Continue cooking on low heat without browning the fennel.
  6. Stir in the pressed garlic, black and Aleppo red pepper, and mix it up for a minute or two.
  7. Combine with the cooked brussel sprouts. Reheat them if necessary.
  8. Stir in the pine nuts. Serve.


  1.  NPR Food for Thought story (Halloween eve, 2019): "From Culinary Dud To Stud: How Dutch Plant Breeders Built Our Brussels Sprouts Boom".
  2. "The right tool for the right job."
    T-Fal 5.5-quart Jumbo Cooker with Lid: "The Titanium nonstick cooking surface is metal utensil safe and made for years of excellent performance. The unique Thermo-Spot heat indicator assures that the pan is properly preheated to seal in the flavor of foods. The base provides even heating for reliable cooking results every time." Yes, it is a nice pan.
  3. Two previous experiences with this veggie: Brussels sprouts with hazelnuts and brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes.
  4. Illustrations available.
brusselsproutsplus.htm: 29-apr-2021 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]