Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pioneer Woman's Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Cranberries - A Review

I recently made a recipe from the Pioneer Woman and wanted to give an honest review from a cook that has a lot to learn but still wants to make good food. Sometimes I even want to make fancy food so that's what prompted me to try Pioneer Woman's Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Cranberries.  I'm sure Ree would say that these aren't fancy but around this house, any vegetable that didn't come from the freezer is considered fancy.

I've made it twice now and here's what I've learned. 

The first time I made it, I did not have the cranberries so I just left those out.  Instead, I added bacon because I was afraid the sprouts were going to be a little too sweet.

I think the bacon added a nice bit of saltiness and helped me to coax my meat loving people that they should eat some of the little cabbage looking things I had placed lovingly on their plates.  Telling them that there was a sugary glaze coating them also made it easier to try.

I should mention here that I goofed on the balsamic sugar reduction.  I let it cook too long and by them time I got the reduction on the Brussels sprouts, it was starting to harden.  Half the Brussels spouts had a hard candied glaze on them making them hard to chew.  The glaze on the other half had not hardened and was delicious.

Even with my goof on the glaze, I thought these were really, really good.  My father-in-law had several helpings and my husband even managed to get down a serving and commented "not bad". (My husband is a meat and potatoes and don't expect me to eat a lot of green things kind of guy.) The kids barely managed to get down one Brussels sprout.  But they did try them.

I thought they were great and couldn't wait to make them again.  The next time I made them though, I was going to use the cranberries just like PW calls for AND I was going to get the reduction right this time.

I made them on Saturday night.  I still added the bacon and I added the cranberries.

But, once again, I had trouble with the reduction.  This time I didn't let it cook long enough and it didn't thicken up.  And because it didn't cook long enough, the balsamic flavor overpowered the Brussels sprouts (Does anyone else find it annoying that it's Brussels and not Brussel?  It's driving me crazy while typing this post.) and was too tangy.  And the cranberries?  They didn't add a thing!

I will make these again even though my husband and kids won't be thrilled.  Next time I make them, I will add the bacon, leave out the cranberries and make sure that I get the glaze done properly.  I have the hardest time getting all of the dinner components on the table at the same time without something being undercooked, overcooked, or just plain cold.

Aren't they pretty?

Check out PW's site for really pretty pictures and step-by-step instructions.

Pioneer Woman's Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Balsamic Glaze.


  • 3 pounds Brussels Sprouts
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • Salt And Pepper
  • 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Dried Cranberries

Preparation Instructions

Trim/clean Brussels sprouts, then cut them in half if desired (or you can leave them whole). Arrange on two baking sheets and toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with plenty of salt and pepper and roast at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until brown.
Combine balsamic vinegar and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and reduce until very thick, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the roasted sprouts, then sprinkle on dried cranberries. Toss and serve immediately.

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Grandma T said...

They look delicious! I will have to try the recipe! Yum! And I'll probably get to eat ALL of them! :)

Tricia said...

I am afraid of brussel sprouts. I was going to cook them once, found a little green worm tucked in to the first one I began to wash. Never again. Same thing with corn on the cob. I've been enjoying asparagus alot now, however I have a feeling there may be just as many worms I haven't noticed tucked away in those too.