Christmas Eve, 2022, with a Couple of New Sides: Sweet & Sour Brussels Sprouts with Pecans & Raisins and Vegan Maple-Bacon Sweet Potatoes

As I’ve mentioned, we celebrate Christmas here at Sideways Cottage with a vegan feast on Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas day. We spend all day cooking together, then dine at about seven or eight (with LOTS of prosecco for good measure!), after which we exchange our gifts to each other.

The menu for our feast always includes a vegan tourtiere, but we try to shake it up a bit with different side dishes every year. This year’s menu is…

Vegan Tourtiere, with my new pie crust!

James’ Plum Chutney

Vegan Gravy

Chez Piggy Green Cabbage Slaw

Sweet and Sour Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Raisins

Vegan Maple-Bacon Sweet Potatoes

Freshly Baked Baguette

And for dessert…our neighbours’ amazing fruitcake!

So these are our two new recips for this year…

This first recipe is based on Ottolenghi’s Sweet and Sour Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts and Grapes. It’s a recipe we love, but we had neither chestnuts nor grapes, so thought we’d give it a try with pecans and raisins. The result was delicious!!

Sweet and Sour Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Raisins

  • 12 shallots, peeled and whole
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 ¾ pecans
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup
  • 9 TBSP olive oil
  • 6 TBSP dry sherry
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 6 ⅓ ounces raisins
  • 1 ¾ lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 2 seranno peppers, sliced into rounds
  • 2 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 1 TSP sugar
  • 3 TBSP parsley leaves
  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Place shallots, garlic, pecans, bay leaves, and maple syrup into a roasting pan. Toss with 7 tbsp of the olive oil, 5 tbsp of the sherry, and 2 tbsp of the soy sauce. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and cook for 35 minutes, until the shallots are soft but still hold their shape. Stir in the raisins, cover again with foil, and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, take off the foil, and set aside.
  3. Increase the oven temperature to 450. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix the Brussels sprouts with the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil and ¼ tsp salt, then spread out on the prepared baking sheets. Roast for about 16 minutes, switching the sheets halfway through, until the sprouts are browned, then add to the pan of raisins and pecans, gently mix everything together, and let rest, uncovered, at room temperature for an hour.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix, the chiles with the rice vinegar, sugar, and ⅛ tsp salt and allow to pickle for 30 minutes.
  5. Once the Brussels sprouts have rested, stir in the remaining 1 tbsp sherry and remaining 2 tbsp soy sauce. Stir in the parsley and transfer to a large, shallow serving bowl. Top with the pickled chiles and the pickling liquid and serve.

Next up is a recipe based on this one from eatingwell.com….

Vegan Maple-Bacon Sweet Potatoes

  • 1 and 1/4 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 TBS maple syrup
  • 1 TBS melted butter
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup chewy vegan bacon bits
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Place sweet potatoes in small casserole dish.
  3. Combine maple syrup, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes; toss to coat.
  4. Sprinkle vegan bacon bits over top.
  5. Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover, stir and bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender and starting to brown, 45 more minutes minutes.
  6. Grind a bit of black pepper on before serving

And here is our feast!!

And a loaded plate!

And look the funny little tree we’ve had for fifteen years. And check out the stockings–James, Emily, and I all still have our stockings from childhood!

And the song of the day is, of course, James’ favourite Christmas song–The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York.”

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