Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries

I had been tempted to do this for years and finally made the leap: combining two classic Thanksgiving side dishes into one. Since these dishes usually end up on top of each other on the plate anyway, why not cook them together, and save on washing dishes? No reason whatsoever. And while you're at it, you could serve this as a topping for large, roasted sweet potatoes (make a slit down the center; stuff in some Cranberry Brussels Sprouts, and also let some just tumble down). All of the above notwithstanding, this dish is very good on its own.

  • With stovetop cooking (as opposed to oven-roasting) Brussels sprouts are at their best if blanched first in boiling water, and then drained and finished in a skillet primed with flavor. 
  • For maximum pan exposure, color, and flavor, you can also divide the ingredient and make this in two batches (or in two simultaneous pans). If cooking in batches, set aside the first batch on a plate while you cook the second one, and then reunite the two to finish cooking together in the pan. (No need to clean the pan in between.)
  • This reheats very nicely -- on the stovetop over low heat, or briefly in a microwave.


  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts 
  • 2 heaping cups whole, fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup finely minced shallots 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup balsamic or cider vinegar 
  • 2 tablespoons sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste 
  • Black pepper 

1) Put on a pot of water to boil, and place a colander in the sink. Meanwhile, trim and halve or quarter the sprouts (unless tiny) and add them to the water when it boils. Let them simmer for 3 to 5 minutes--or until mostly tender-- and then drain them thoroughly in the colander, shaking them dry.

2) Place the cranberries in a large (10- to 12-inch) skillet on the stove, and turn on the heat to medium. Cook them solo for 2 minutes, then stir in the olive oil and shallots. Keep cooking, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes, or until the cranberries begin to pop.

3) Add the drained Brussels sprouts, plus the vinegar, sugar, maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon salt -- and toss to combine. Reduce the heat to low, and use tongs to arrange as many of the sprouts as your patience permits cut side-down, facing into the cranberry mixture. (This will color them appetizingly, in addition to saturating them with flavor.) Cover the pan, and cook for another 10 minutes -- or until done to your liking -- stirring from time to time to rearrange the sprouts.

4) Adjust salt, if desired, and add pepper to taste. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. 

Optional Enhancements
  • Toss in a handful of dried cranberries, in addition to the fresh ones (add dried ones toward the end)
  • Top with a few lightly toasted pecans
  • Decorate with orange sections or slices 

From The Heart of the Plate by Mollie Katzen, Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

2 to 3 servings
  • Moving to Harlem with Marcus Samuelsson

    What motivated Marcus Samuelsson to move to Harlem and open Red Rooster, his acclaimed restaurant? He tells The Splendid Table's Melissa Clark that 9/11, his mother, and the Great Migration all played a part. He also discusses the challenge of making fried chicken in the same neighborhood as legendary spots like Sylvia's and Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken.

Top Recipes

Emeril Lagasse: 'Learn something every day or you're cheating yourself'

Emeril Lagasse, author of Essential Emeril, says he keeps an open-minded approach to food.