In case your table still has a spot for one more side dish I’m offering this final recipe for the Thanksgiving season. If your table is full and one more dish might push you towards insanity then allow me to offer this recipe for the week after Thanksgiving.
If you have a moment to make the pistachio tahini ahead of time and do a bit of chopping, the final preparation of the dish takes little more work then opening the oven and slipping in the sheet pan. There’s little here that hint at traditional Thanksgiving besides the presence of Brussels Sprouts but I welcome it to the table with eagerness. It’s the sort of dish that tastes hearty (and really is) but it’s not the cream and butter-laden heartiness that so many of the neighboring holiday dishes tout.
The pistachio tahini (a genius idea I read about in the book Chasing Smoke: Cooking Over Fire Around the Levant) adds a unique creamy base for the nearly charred Brussels and leeks to perch. Before hitting the hot oven they are tossed with pickled chilies, a bit of honey, and salt. For flair and freshness it’s finished with more pistachios, mint and a squeeze of lemon. I also added a flurry of Parmesan because sometimes I can’t help myself.
Blessings to you all this thanksgiving season. Thank you for opening your inbox to me and allowing me to be a small part of your table this year. I’ve so loved the conversations around menus, preparations, and giving thanks. I’d love to share with you my favorite blessing to share around the table. It comes from the late Irish poet and philosopher, John O’Donohue.
Grace Before Meals
As we begin this meal with grace,
Let us become aware of the memory
Carried inside the food before us:
The quiver of the seed
Awakening in the earth,
Unfolding in a trust of roots
And slender stems of growth,
On its voyage toward harvest,
The kiss of rain and surge of sun;
The innocence of animal soul
That never spoke a word,
Nourished by the earth
To become today our food;
The work of all the strangers
Whose hands prepared it,
The privilege of wealth and health
That enables us to feast and celebrate.
Chili Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Leeks with Pistachio Tahini
Serves 6-8 as a side
A few things to note; the sprouts and leeks can be quartered and sliced ahead of time and the pistachio tahini is good for at least a week. If you don’t have pickled peppers on hand feel free to use a fresh chili then add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a splash of vinegar to the vegetables before baking. Chili flakes can also be used but don’t forget that pop of vinegar! As I’m writing this I’m thinking that with fried eggs on top this would make an amazing breakfast/brunch dish.
1 pound Brussels Sprouts, quartered
2 medium leeks, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1/3 - 1/2 cup pickled peppers and their oil (such as Mama Lil’s or use the recipe below)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons honey
1 cup pistachio tahini (recipe below)
1/3 cup pistachios
1/4 cup mint leaves
1/2 lemon, for serving
Freshly grated parmesan (optional)
Preheat your oven to 425*F.
Line a sheet pan with parchment then add the Brussels sprouts and leeks to the pan. Toss with the pickled peppers and the oil and vinegar from the jar, sea salt, and honey. Add more oil if the vegetables look dry.
Roast for 15 - 20 minutes then stir the vegetables and continue to roast until tender and deeply charred in parts, another 15 - 20 minutes longer.
Spread the pistachio tahini on the bottom of your serving platter. Add the warm roasted vegetables on top then garnish with pistachios, mint leaves, a squeeze of lemon (and the zest if you’d like) and Parmesan.
1 cup / 100 g toasted unsalted pistachios
About 1/2 cup / 3 1/2 ounces boiling water
2 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (fresh lemon or lime juice would also be lovely)
1/3 cup 2 3/4 ounce cold water
Add the pistachios to a heat proof bowl or jar then cover with boiling water. Let this sit for at least 20 minutes.
Drain the water then add the pistachios to the bowl of a food processor. Add the garlic, olive oil, salt, vinegar and cold water then process until smooth. You may want to add more water to get the right consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
Will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks if well covered.
8 ounces/ 227 g Italian roasting peppers or colorful mini peppers, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon/16 g kosher salt
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 red chile, sliced into thin rounds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine vinegar, salt, brown sugar, oregano, garlic cloves, red chile and olive oil and bring to a simmer. Add sliced peppers and simmer for 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender and flush with the pickling liquid.
Cool to room temperature in the saucepan.
Transfer cooled peppers into a jar and pour the liquid on top.
Refrigerate. These will keep in the refrigerator for 1 month.