Lately, I have been obsessed with cooking with clementines and I believe this might be the peak example of me trying to incorporate them in every dish. When it comes to cooking with Brussels sprouts, making them taste good can be quite the challenge for most people. That is why they are usually paired with bacon, a meat that has a good amount of fat and salt to flavour the otherwise bland sprouts.
When roasted, Brussels sprouts might become a little dry if one isn't careful and when boiled, they can get too mushy (for my taste). So in this recipe I prefer cooking them in a mixture of lemon juice, clementine juice and water. The sprouts absorb that flavourful liquid while still retaining their shape and integrity. While carrots and cinnamon add sweetness, the mixture of lemon and clementine juice adds a good amount of tanginess. Clementine can be replaced with other citrus fruits like orange or kumquat if you're feeling adventurous.
The starch from the rice thickens the juices and it results in them becoming a yummy little sauce that coats every sprout perfectly. It will thicken further and turn a little slimy the next day which will improve the taste even more / but if you're worried about the look, heating it up will help you reduce the thickness. If desired, the rice can be skipped or replaced with any grain of your choosing.
I actually drew inspiration from a very common Turkish olive oil dish made with leeks and carrots, often served cold as a side or a meze (tapas-like small appetizers). The original dish uses white sugar and lemon juice instead of clementine and cinnamon. Although I can say that everyone I met had their own versions of it, varying from adding green apple and orange peels to adding potatoes.
So, this recipe is full of unexpected flavour pairings and it is the result of me wanting to create an interesting vegetarian (or in this case vegan) side dish option that could be enjoyed by both your omnivore and herbivore friends. I'll definitely be including this to my list of holiday recipes. It is vegan friendly, christmasy, tangy and sweet at the same time and its even better the next day!
Tips and Tricks:
You can give it a stir occasionally after adding the rice.
At the end of the 40 minutes, if there is no more water left in the pot and your sprouts are still not done, you can add a little bit more water and let it cook for an additional 10 minutes.
You can keep or discard the garlic cloves before serving.
SERVES: 4 (as a main dish), 6-8 (as a side dish)
PREP TIME: 30 MIN
COOK TIME: 50 MIN
RESTING TIME: 10 MIN
TOTAL TIME: 1H 30 MIN
750 gr cleaned, washed Brussels sprouts
2 medium sized tomatoes
2 medium sized (or 1 large) carrots
1 large onion
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 2 clementines
400 ml water
4 tbsp rice
4 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt (you can increase or decrease the amount of salt as you wish)
1. Wash and clean your Brussels sprouts, set aside.
2. Grate your tomatoes in a small bowl and put aside.
3. Juice your lemon and clementines and set aside.
4. Chop your onions and carrots in cubes (or any shape you like as long as they don't differ too much in size).
5. In a large preferably shallow pot (we don't want the sprouts stacking on top of each other), heat up the olive oil.
6. Add the onions and sauté them for about 4 minutes, until translucent.
7. Add the carrots and sauté them for about 5 minutes.
8. Add the Brussel sprouts and pour the tomatoes, the lemon/clementine juice and the water on top.
9. Add your spices and give it a stir. Place the garlic cloves on top, close the lid and let it simmer in medium/high heat for about 20 minutes.
10. Add your rice and give it another stir, put the lid back on and simmer for another 20 minutes.
11. Take it off the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.