But a decade or so ago, friend George, made some good Asian-inspired ones at dinner which I liked very much.
And in DC, I've had Kung Po Brussel Sprouts from two different restaurants and each better than the last. Even 710 at them on our last trip and was wow'd by them.
So, to make Thanksgiving more palatable in terms of the blandness of mashed potatoes and turkey, I attempted - and it was just that - making Kung Po Brussel Sprouts.
There are lots of ingredients, no matter which recipe you try - and there are tons of them out there - but it's not really overwhelming. It's just at a meal like Thanksgiving, it comes down to timing.
Oh - and I didn't even get all the ingredients in this picture: I missed brown sugar and cornstarch. Actually, I might have mixed / matched a few recipes so, that's on me.
Trim the sprouts - take off hard outer layer leaves, and cut in half. Mince the garlic and ginger ahead of time. You'll thank me for that.
Preheat oven to 425F (Conventional), or 400F for Convection/Fan.
In a bowl, drizzle the sprouts with the olive oil, then scatter them over a large, rimmed sheet pan. Salt and pepper the oil-coated sprouts. Then place in oven for 20 minutes until they are tender and begin to crisp. I did not take a pic of that - but it took longer than 20 for me to get them semi crisp.
While sprouts roast, make the sauce. When the sprouts finish, preheat the oven to the “Broil” setting
In a small (2-qt.) saucepan over medium heat, warm the sesame oil. Add the minced garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant, 30-60 seconds.
Add the cornstarch (I made a slurry with water in the recipe) and stir. Then add the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and chili sauce. Season with 1 tsp salt (??????????) 1/2 tsp pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flake. Bring to boil, then lower heat to simmer.
Simmer 3-5 minutes, until the sauce thickens
Add the sprouts to the saucepan. Coat completely.
Pour back onto baking sheet. Place them under the broiler for 2-4 minutes - watching so they don't char too much, though you do want them to char some.
Garnish with green onions and chopped roasted (unsalted) peanuts. Sesame seeds, if you like too.
The verdict? It was ok. Nothing more. But I'd do things a bit differently.
I had some low sodium soy sauce but used up the full sodium amount for the first cup. Don't do that. USE low sodium. I think I wouldn't salt the sprouts or the sauce either. The "just ok" review came from the entire thing being too salty.
I might add more brown sugar (or the hoisin) to balance the sodium levels, but if you cut back to salt, don't overdo it on the sweet.
Also, due to the turkey - the rack wasn't close enough to the broiler, in my opinion. I wouldn't have liked the sprouts crisper.
Still this isn't necessarily a one-and-done for me. It just takes tweaking and I like to mix up the greens we eat at dinner.
* This recipe didn't call for ginger. Others did. I figured it wouldn't hurt. It didn't.
** Didn't have it, so didn't use it. But I think it would help, as it might cut the sodium a bit.