I should start by raving about “the star” fall ingredients in this recipe. Brussels sprouts! Squash! These are the things I should be yelling about, bursting with enthusiasm to share with you.
Today what I really want to talk about is dijon mustard. This ingredient, in my most expert opinion, is the most under appreciated fall flavor. Think of it as the backup dancer to all our fall favorites. For example, the classic combo of pork and apples- turn that on its head with a savory mustard glaze. Stews, soups, pot roast- how about with a mustard twist? Roasted butternut squash with thyme, rosemary and dijon mustard. The possibilities are endless and I haven’t even gotten to the obvious- brats, burgers and tailgating!
It all started with the pretzels. Last weekend I decided to take on the project of homemade pretzels for Oktoberfest. It was great fun, the pretzels were delicious but what I really kicked off was a relationship with the jar of dijon mustard in my fridge. We’ve now broken up and I’ve moved on. (Unwillingly. Picture me with a basting brush catching every last bit of saucy goodness.) But it was oh-so-good while it lasted and this dreamy recipe was created. Also, by complete accident, I stumbled upon the perfect Thanksgiving side dish. I know it’s too early/I’m getting ahead of myself/Thanksgiving is far away, but I just can’t get over how perfect this would be with a turkey.
Both the acorn squash and the brussels sprouts arrived in my CSA box. While I’m currently geek-ing out about dijon mustard, I was also really excited to get my first glimpse of brussels sprouts this year. It’s not really fall until I have my first taste of brussels sprouts roasted in the oven until tender and sweet. The transformation of this vegetable when roasted from it’s boiled, bitter counterpart always amazes me. The maple sugar is really fantastic with the mustard for a sweet-savory combo and the sauce is so thick, glossy and complex that you would never guess it has only three ingredients. Because part of that sauce is tossed with the vegetables midway through the roasting process both the veggies and the pecans are slightly caramelized from the maple syrup. I ate this on its own but it would be great as a side for roast chicken, pork or turkey.
A couple notes on the recipe: I used a single acorn squash but felt there was enough sauce and flavor to spread across an additional squash so the recipe reads 1-2. Just ensure that the vegetables are still in a single layer on your baking sheet when roasted. This will ensure that the veggies and the pecan crisp up.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Acorn Squash with Mustard Maple Sauce
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1-2 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds scooped out
1 pound brussels sprouts, cut in halft
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (if you don’t have nutmeg, just use 1/2 tsp cinnamon)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup pecans
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
3 tablespoons maple syrup
Special Equipment Needed: None
Preheat the oven to 400 deg F. Lay out the squash and sprouts on two baking sheets lined with aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Roast for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile mix together the 1/4 cup olive oil, dijon mustard and maple syrup to make the sauce. Remove the squash and sprouts from the oven, toss with the pecan and half of the sauce. Roast an additional 15-20 minutes until the pecans are toasted, the vegetables are tender, and the sauce is beginning to caramelize. Remove from the oven toss with the remaining sauce in a large bowl and serve.
Wine/Drink Pairing: I paired this with a hard apple cider and it worked really well. Pick a good cider- one that is not too sweet and has good acidity. Mustard can be tricky due to the horseradish characteristic, especially with tannic red wines but a cider’s fruitiness matched well with the roasted vegetables and balanced out the sauce.