Tender, sweet roasted Brussels sprouts are mixed with bits of andouille sausage and apricots and glazed with a maple mustard mixture in this quick and easy recipe.
On a recent unseasonably warm October night, the kids and I parked in downtown Bangor and walked along Central Street. It was dusk, and we were killing time before a book launch event. We slipped into the Briar Patch bookstore and looked through shelves crowded with children’s literature. While there, I picked up a copy of Donn Fendler’s “Lost on a Mountain in Maine.” As someone from away, I’ve never read the book — though I quickly became familiar with it this summer, when the 75th anniversary of the real events that inspired the book approached.
I started to tell the kids what the book was about but my 9-year-old son, Will, interrupted me. He had read BDN Outdoors Editor John Holyoke’s interview with Fendler over the summer and explained the story to his sister for me.
As a writer, I always hoped my kids would love to read. But in a lot of ways, I feel like the fact that my son soaks in whatever he can is more about him than anything I’ve done.
Sure, I set an example for the kids by reading the newspaper daily, picking up my Kindle whenever I can and regularly going to the library or the bookstore. I began reading to the kids when they both were very young — Will was a Dr. Seuss fanatic who requested “Green Eggs and Ham,” “The Cat in the Hat” and “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” on repeat.
But in terms of them learning to read? I have years of wonderful teachers, beginning with the lovely Paige Robinson at my children’s preschool in Connecticut, to thank for that. It was in the classroom that words from the page went from lines and curves to meaningful things for them.
And though I have continued to read with my kids until they’ve decided they prefer independent reading to listening to me, it’s the lessons of sounds, phonetics and memorization of sight words in class that mattered most.
As for the enjoyment of reading? Much like their enjoyment of good food, I haven’t any clue how it happened. Maybe it’s from me modeling the behavior. But more likely I simply was blessed with children who both love a variety of foods and thrill in digging into reading.
I can’t take credit for any of it. So whenever friends ask how I managed to have two kids who love vegetables, I have no answers, no advice, nothing constructive. As far as I can tell, they love veggies because they’ve always eaten them. Vegetables are just part of the landscape of our eating life — much like grocery shopping at farmers markets, hanging out at my cousin’s vegetable farm and talking openly about the difference between processed foods and whole foods.
It’s just what we do.
And these two great kids? They love Brussels sprouts, which is exciting to me because these little green balls of deliciousness were so maligned for so long. And though some still groan at the mere mention of them, more and more folks have discovered how delicious a well-cooked and seasoned sprout can be.
(Hint: Well-cooked means no boiling! And don’t cook them whole! For me, those are the two things that turn my favorite veggie into something to be avoided. What do you think?)
As far as vegetables go, Brussels sprouts are powerhouses of nutrition filled with antioxidants and other healthy good stuff. Though people closely associate them with cabbage, Brussels sprouts are actually cruciferous vegetables — like broccoli and cauliflower. According to World’s Healthiest Foods, they are rich in nutrients such as vitamins K and C, and folate, to name a few.
This fall, why not try Brussels sprouts in a new way?
These Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Andouille Sausage and Apricots are a down-home dish with a balanced unity of flavors and textures — sweet with a hint of spice, tender but hearty. Sweet roasted Brussels sprouts are tossed with bits of andouille sausage and dried apricots and then finished with a sweet glaze made from fresh maple syrup and mustard.
The resulting dish is a symphony that will impress without keeping you chained to the stove for hours. It’s a quick and easy recipe, but doesn’t feel that way. And when I am cooking for my family, that’s exactly how I like it to be.
- 4 cups halved Brussels sprouts
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup finely diced andouille sausage
- ½ cup finely diced dried apricots
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil.
- Spread the brussels sprouts on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until browned and slightly tender.
- Add the andouille sausage and apricots to the pan and stir to mix. Whisk together the maple syrup and mustard. Drizzle over the Brussels sprouts mixture and toss to combine. Roast for an additional 8-10 minutes, until the sausage is lightly browned on one side.
- Serve hot.