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Thanksgiving Thursday: Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts

I’m weird, and I’ll be the first person to admit it, but I LOVE brussels sprouts.  (I love hominy, too, so there you go.)  When I ran across the original recipe for this, I just had to make it and once I’d made it, I stuck it right in the Thanksgiving repertoire.  I’ve converted die-hard brussels sprout haters with this recipe.

The original recipe called for freshly roasted chestnuts and while I can say the original recipe is very yummy, I can also say that shelling freshly roasted chestnuts is a humongous pain in the ass.  I really do love them…for a nut or two.  Three-quarters of a pound, though?  I don’t have that much patience.  I don’t think Mother Theresa had that much patience.  So I substituted walnuts and lemme tell ya – it’s still pretty damn nom-worthy.

Note: I thought perhaps the reason I had so much trouble shelling the chestnuts was because of my very Southern background – growing up in Texas, my only association with the nuts was in songs where they’re roasting over an open fire and Jack Frost is taking liberties with your olfactory appendage.  But then I discovered that my very New England-borne-and-raised sister-in-law, Tough Yankee Broad (who is an absolutely awesome cook), has forsaken roasting and shelling the little beasts for similar reasons, substituting them with walnuts or pecans, depending on the recipe.

My confidence has been restored.

Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts

serves 6

1 pound brussles sprouts

1 cup unbroken walnut meats

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring 2 quarts of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil.

Trim the oustide leaves from the brussels sprouts and cut 1/4 inch-deep cross in the bottom of each.  Drop them in the boiling salted water and cook until they are barely fork tender, about 7 minutes.

Drain the sprouts and drop them into a large bowl of ice water to stop them cooking and cool.  Remove them from the water, dry, and cut in half.

Add the maple syrup to a 10″ saute pan and warm.  Add the brussels sprouts and bring to a boil.  Quickly add the walnuts and stir in the whole butter.  Saute for 2 – 3 minutes, allowing the syrup and butter to thicken and glaze the sprouts.

Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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