Did everyone have (is having) a wonderful holiday season? Hopefully, you are filled to the brim with family, fun and that foreboding cloud hanging over your head asking, “What am I going to do with all this leftover holiday ham?” Have no fear friends. I planned this one out like a month ago and I have the answer. Roasted brussel sprouts with ham. The thinly sliced, not bitter, crispy kind of brussel sprouts! Ta da! See, I told you I had your back.
Okay, I have to make a confession. I didn’t like most vegetables growing up.
Alright, I probably know what you’re thinking, “You don’t say?” Surprise, surprise right? Me and every other kid on the plant. Although, most kids are turned off by anything that’s not dessert or cheesy, I think a lot of it had to do with the way they were prepared. (Sorry Mom). It’s not her fault though. It was an area of frozen and or over cooked, mushy vegetables. Hence, we usually had them boiled and the vegetables had left most of their color (and their nutrients) behind in the water.
I used to think I hated the slightly more bitter vegetables like brussel sprouts and zucchini, only to find later on in life that they are both delicious. Especially when thinly sliced and roasted or sprinkled on a pizza. Lucky for us, it is totally brussel sprout season! Brussel sprouts actually sweeten up after the first frost. I don’t know where ya’ll live, but I think it is safe to guess late December you reached that point a long time ago.
So let me tell you a little about this recipe. I’m pretty confident you’re going to luh-ve itttt. And this time around you’ll have something to do with that holiday ham besides make ham sandwiches. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good ham sandwich. That fresh ham roast on a roll with a little dijon mustard. Mmmm mmm! But this is about versatility folks! It’s time to bring out a couple of other star players and let them take a turn on the court. Also, we’ll leave you some ham for the sandwiches, promise. Actually, make that a pinky promise. So let me introduce those other star players: cranberries, pistachios and Meyer lemon. Make that cranberry sauce, dried cranberries, candied pistachios, and Meyer lemon aioli. Boo ya! Didn’t I tell you these were star players?
As I’ve spent more time trying the recipes of really fantastic chefs like Jamie Oliver and Yotam Ottolenghi, I’ve found a theme throughout. The spices and seasonings are used to accentuate the natural flavors of the food instead of trying to mask them or morph them into something they are not. I have played with that idea in this recipe, actually, a lot of my recipes as of late. Especially, I want every ingredient to be intentional. I think we can all agree that candied pistachios are delicious, but paired with smokey, holiday ham they are elevated to divine! So let’s get cooking!
Oh, and one more note before the recipe. As always, but especially with meat, please make sure it is coming from an ethical source. Every time we make a purchase we have a chance to be intentional and vote with our dollar. If for no other reason, a pig raised on lush pasture with a diverse, natural, omnivorous diet has meat with 1,000,000,000,000 times more flavor. So since it ’tis the season to be cooking lots of food’ (fa la la la la la la la la) keep that in mind when you are making decisions. Like for most food, I find my local farmers’ market is the best place to look sustainable choices. Okay, so let’s get cooking for real this time!
35 minPrep Time
15 minCook Time
50 minTotal Time
- 8 cups shredded brussel sprouts
- 3/4 cups dried cranberries
- 1 cup shelled pistachios
- 1/4 cup left over cranberry sauce
- 2 cups diced holiday ham
- Avocado olive for tossing*
- Organic cane sugar
- Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
- Juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon
- 1 1/4 cups avocado oil*
- 3 egg yolks room temperature (pasture raised)
- 1/8 cup of honey and or maple syrup
- 1 tbsp water
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- Using a mandoline slicer set to a 1/4 inch or a sharp knife, slice the brussel sprout. Peel the leaves apart from any chunks.
- Set aside
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
- Put one cup shelled pistachios in a pan and sprinkle with about a 1/4 cup of sugar. Heat the nuts on medium heat, and stir using a spatula, until the nuts are evenly covered. Taking care not to burn the sugar.
- Dump the pistachios onto a nonstick sheet and break the nuts apart the best you can. They will harden rapidly and want to stick together. You can always break the clumps apart further, after they cool.
- Set aside
- On a large baking sheet put the dried cranberries, the cranberry sauce, the brussel sprouts and the ham.
- Drizzle with avocado oil and salt, and toss with hands to evenly distribute the oil and cranberry sauce.
- Pop the brussel sprouts in the oven and roast from between 10-15 minutes, but keep an eye on them around 10. The thin brussel sprouts will cook quickly, and although we want them to brown a little, we definitely don't want them to burn!
- Meanwhile mix egg yolks, salt and water in a tall, but narrow bowl.
- Now SLOWLY drizzle avocado oil in. A few drops at a time at first, while continuing to mix. I would put a couple of drops in and then mix for about 15 seconds, then a little more and go back and forth like that. After you've mixed in about 3/4 of a cup, or whenever the oil starts to emulsify then you can pour the rest of the oil in at a steady (but still thin) stream.
- Pour in the lemon juice, zest and honey.
- Mix to combine.
- Taste the sauce and add more lemon juice, honey or salt to your liking. Don't let it get too thin though!
- Remove the brussel sprouts from the oven and sprinkle with about half of the pistachios, reserving the rest as a side for people to sprinkle on their plates.
- Put the sauce in something pourable and serve next to the brussel sprouts.
- Serve immediately.
I highly recommend buying avocado oil for this recipe. It's not too pricey and olive oil is too bitter and will ruin your sauce. Even if you buy light olive oil, olive oil in grocery stores can be years old, even though olive oil loses a lot of its freshness and nutrients after about six months. Other vegetable oils are really high in omega 6s and some studies have shown a correlation between vegetable oil and cancer.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Leftover Holiday Ham
Meyer Lemon Aioli