Roasted Brussels sprouts with duck fat

Duck Fat Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Almonds and Cranberries

November 13, 2009 · 39 comments

I’ve yet to hear someone say, “Wow, Brussels sprouts, my favorite!” Have you? Have you ever cooked up a bushel of green globes to the enthusiastic delight of your hungry dinner guests? But wait, if you said yes, I bet there was a bit of bacon involved…

…Come on, you can admit it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Brussels sprouts slathered in glorious pork fat.

The mighty sprouts are all over Bay Area markets right now, vying for their spot on the Thanksgiving table. My family was never big on Brussels sprouts. I actually can’t remember one holiday where they sat besides the turkey, lasagna, seafood salad, fish sauce or fresh mozzarella. Our lavish Italian holidays were not typical of the average American family, but still, not a single sprout?  I remember seeking them out at friends’ houses, not quite understanding why they, instead of, say, asparagus, were so vehemently hated by anyone under the age of 25.

single sprout 2

signle sprout shadow 2

I roasted these Brussels sprouts in duck fat. It’s indulgent I know, but healthier than butter and more natural than canola oil. Olive oil is my fat of choice, but the rich caramelization that magically transpires when you roast vegetables with duck fat is a heavenly experience not to be missed. You can save the fat from a duck you cook at home (maybe from this Duck Lasagna recipe – the fat will come off with the skin), or in a pinch, buy it at your local butcher. If you rarely cook duck, buy the fat. Use it to roast or fry potatoes, cook eggs, make grilled cheeses, sauté carrots. . . Wherever you use it, remember your final dish will be heavier than if you use olive oil – it’ll feel like you used butter, but its taste will lack that inherent sweetness. Instead you’ll get a savory, full-bodied mouth full that’s completely different from any other fat.

Before roasting, I pulled off the outer leaves of each sprout, rolled them, and sliced them into long strips (chiffonade). I threw them into a cast iron skillet that was already toasting crushed pecans and almonds, and added dried cranberries. When the sprouts were browned and crispy, I tossed them with the nutty sweet mixture.

Before the recipe, I have to take a moment to mention Black Box Wines. I am not one for product endorsements. If I like something, I say it, but all the free stuff I get in the mail or at events hardly ever makes it to the pages of my blog. I received a box of Cabernet Sauvignon from Black Box at a Foodbuzz dinner at Spruce, and I can’t stop drinking it (for completely different reasons why I couldn’t stop drinking boxed wine in college.) I love that you can close the box, which equals four bottles of wine, and it won’t go bad for about a month. Alejandro is a beer drinker, so I often feel obligated to drink more than I should, lest the wine should spoil. Anyway, it’s wine, in a box, and it’s really tasty.

roasted brussel sprouts side

Duck Fat Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Almonds and Cranberries

1 pound Brussels sprouts
Handful raw almonds, crushed in a mortar with a pestle
Handful fresh pecans, crushed in a mortar with a pestle
Handful of dried cranberries
¼ cup of rendered duck fat
Sea Salt, Freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat your oven to 450F. Peel off the outer most leaves of each Brussels sprout. Roll the leaves like a cigar, and cut into long strips.

shreaded sprouts

Slowly melt duck fat in a small saucepan.

Cut off and discard the bottom of each sprout, and cut them in half. Arrange single file on a roasting sheet. Drizzle duck fat over sprouts, gently covering each one. Sprinkle on salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, or until they brown. Shake the pan around once while roasting.

Heat up a small cast iron skillet and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the crushed nuts and cook for about two minutes, until fragrant. Add the chiffonaded Brussels sprout leaves, stir, and continue cooking for two more minutes. The leaves should still be bright green and not quite wilted. Throw in dried cranberries and cook for one more minute.

sprout leaves and nuts 2

Dish the nuts and cranberries until a bowl, spoon Brussels sprouts on top, and sprinkle on a tad more salt. To serve as a main course, serve over brown or wild rice.

Where I shopped:
Organic Brussels sprouts: Temescal Farmers’ Market, Oakland
Raw almonds and pecans: Temescal Farmers’ Market, Oakland
Dried cranberries: Monterey Market, Berkeley
Rendered Duck Fat: Ver Brugge, Oakland

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Internet Tasting November 22
November 22, 2009 at 12:07 pm
Chez Us » Duck Fat Roasted Brussel Sprouts
November 24, 2009 at 2:50 pm
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December 15, 2009 at 10:25 am
Why do YOU cook, Allison Arevalo?- Recipes for Everyone
January 23, 2010 at 3:12 am
In Praise of Duck Fat « Fête & Feast
January 27, 2010 at 6:06 am
Why do YOU cook, Allison Arevalo? - Wine and Food
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March 22, 2010 at 5:20 am

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Darya November 13, 2009 at 8:23 am

This looks delicious!! There’s nothing better than duck fat.

I actually know a few people who consider Brussels sprouts their favorite vegetable. I’m getting there myself :)


Rose November 13, 2009 at 9:16 am

I love Brussels sprouts, but then again, I’m a wierdo :) In duck fat? EVEN BETTER!!


denise (chez danisse) November 13, 2009 at 9:28 am

This looks like a fantastic combination. Luckily, I’m one of those nutty people who actually like Brussels sprouts : )


Chez Us November 13, 2009 at 10:12 am

Duck fat – I love the stuff, just as you mentioned on potatoes, eggs, etc.. I have never tried it on brussel sprouts! Now I have been a hater since those childhood days but this recipes is fantastic – who would not love brussel sprouts with duck fat. May have to try this one out for Thanksgiving!


Kate @ savour fare November 13, 2009 at 10:19 am

Brussels sprouts are my FAVORITE. Love them. I’m laughing at all the blogosphere posts on how to convert the unconverted. Duck fat seems promising indeed.


Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 13, 2009 at 10:43 am

This looks awesome. I love duck – never really cooked with it but now I can’t wait to!


Angela@spinachtiger November 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm

You make brussels sprouts sing like Bocelli.
Just last night I roasted brussels sprouts with cranberries, pine nuts in chicken fat! I have not yet graduated to duck fat, but I think you are pulling me along.

I roasted a chicken (zuni style) and threw the brussels sprouts in with my version of the tuscan bread that goes under the chicken. Marvelous. But, now as I still can’t get that duck lasagna off my mind, I will be thinking duck fat!


Mari @ Secrets of a Kitchen Wizard November 13, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Hi Allison! It was great meeting you last weekend! Love your blog… Beautiful photos… (Thought that was the brussels sprouts we had on Sat! Which one do you like better? duck fat roasted version sure sounds good too!


Frenchie November 13, 2009 at 7:15 pm

I have had several duck fat dishes in restaurants but I never thought to make them at home. When I find where to buy some, I will be making this right away, what a treat. I lvoe the richness of duck fat it adds a depth of flavor that you just can’t find anywhere else.


Jessica Lee Binder November 13, 2009 at 7:26 pm

I love brussels sprouts but one of my favorite versions does include bacon. Duck fat is a great idea, and I happen to have some in the fridge. =)


Jason Sandeman November 14, 2009 at 7:32 am

The duck fat is what really sells this for me. Can youbelieve it, I have so much at the restaurant that we are almost to the point of tossing the stuff? That is until I replaced a lot of butter, etc for potatoes with duck fat.

This dish looks so interesting, I am going to give it a try. Looking good!


tara November 15, 2009 at 4:22 am

I adore Brussels sprouts. Now I just need to get myself some duck fat. This looks amazing.


sippitysup November 15, 2009 at 7:13 am

I love using duck fat. It really is magical! I am also a Brussels sprouts fan so this post was double delicious for me. GREG


Megan Gordon November 15, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Hah…there’s something contagious in the food blogging world with brussel sprouts this week. I was just tweeting with Kasey from Eating SF b/c I’d done a post, then she did one the day after…great minds think alike. These look lovely.


24carrot November 15, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Hope you and your family are doing well.
I love brussels sprouts and what you did with them. I always love that I am familiar with some of the places you purchased ingredients at after my visit last week!


Tim November 16, 2009 at 11:20 am

Brussels sprouts are great, especially if they have been nipped by frost before harvesting. Yes we do get sub zero temps in winter in south Africa. Better yet, try bubble and squeak.
left over brussels
left over spuds, roast are best

zap the whole lot in a food processor briefly.butter / chicken fat . / oil a frying pan ( skillet)_

when hot spread mixture into pan
when browned , turn ( don’t be TOO fussy here)
brown other side

serve with cold leftover roast and re heated leftove gravy


Janet November 16, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Duck fat!!

It’s funny, I think brussels sprouts actually *are* my favorite! This is new to me, though.

Gorgeous photos, as always!


Coco Bean November 16, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Brussel sprouts are definitely my favourite veggie, but they have to be done right… and oh boy it looks like you did them right! I’ll keep this in mind for the next time I make them (tomorrow!) thanks!


Steph November 19, 2009 at 12:14 pm

I would LOVE to make this recipe for Thanksgiving..
Any tips of pre-making any of it in advance?
I have two dinners to go to consecutively, and need to bring a veggie dish for 20 people!


Maggie November 20, 2009 at 3:11 pm

If I didn’t have so many veg-heads in my family, I’d add my stash of duck fat to my brussels sprouts. Very delicious.


Mel @ November 22, 2009 at 12:13 am

This looks spectacular. I’ve always loved these dainty sprouts and can’t wait to try them. Love the caramelization.


Sophie November 22, 2009 at 3:26 am

I so love this Brussels sprouts dish: it looks so festive & is so good for you too!

MMMMMMMMMMMM,…just marvellous!!!!!


rach December 2, 2009 at 11:44 pm

What a deliciously good combination. I have always liked sprouts
I think it’s beacuse when I was little I thought they were cabbages
for children. I love your wine post about Sonoma by the way, just beautiful photos,
and your soup (fried sage = very nice)I meant to drop you a note but
I read things on my stupid google reader which makes it hard to comment.
It’s all looking very professional and inspiring around here.


Marta-Pecan Store December 17, 2009 at 8:26 am

This recipe looks amazing :) I can’t wait to try it. I love the combination of pecans with veggies!


J2Kfm December 21, 2009 at 12:42 am

Wait, I DO love Brussel Sprouts, since I was small.
Strange huh? I like their crunchy texture, and a bitter-ish aftertaste.


Guillemette January 1, 2010 at 8:34 am

I love Brussels sprouts, they are my favorite vegetable of the season and I have at least 5 other friends who say the same :) … such a favorite in my crowd that they were on the menu for Christmas! Thanks for sharing a new recipe! Beautiful photos as well.

Happy New Year!


melissa December 2, 2010 at 6:37 pm

I just found this via foodgawker.. and my god, this is delicious. Just finished woofing it down, with enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow! Thanks for sharing!


Steph December 11, 2010 at 1:49 pm

My husbands new favorite! Just bought fresh brussel sprouts at the farmers market and we do duck now at thanksgiving instead of turkey just to get the fat for this recipe! Can’t wait!


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